NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 31, 2013 — In conjunction with its announcement to co-host a Super Bowl Party in New Orleans on Friday, February 1, 2013, Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund announces that it has helped over 500 retired NFL players and their families in the last six (6) years. Gridiron Greats is an independent charity devoted to helping players who have been impacted by their playing days in the NFL and as a result fallen on hard times. Gridiron Greats is working on a national scale to help these players get back on their feet.
With everything from turning the heat back on to much needed surgery, Gridiron Greats continues to be the charity that is on the front lines doing the heavy lifting for those retired NFL players who are in dire need as a result of their days with the game they loved.
“We receive 4 to 5 new calls a week. We answer every call, and attempt to meet every need as best we can,” says Gridiron Greats President, Shannon Jordan . “Sometimes we assist them with rent and shelter, sometimes we put food on their table or provide winter coats and other times we help medically for a crippling injury,” added Jordan. “In every case, the story is that these men and their families need help. They are hurting, and by the time they call us they are desperate”.
Every day in the news we hear about men suffering medically, but the stories that aren’t told are the men suffering from financial distress that need help right now. Gridiron Greats provides pro bono medical and dental but the men need assistance with everyday life before they take the gift of helping themselves medically. In most cases Gridiron Greats is their only lifeline.
“I am very proud of what our team has accomplished,” says Chairman Mike Ditka . “This is a very hands-on group with one central focus, to help each and every person that contacts us. We can’t always meet the full need, but we help in every way we can.” added Ditka. “Sometimes players feel like it is 4th and 25, and they are on their own 3-yard line. We are their Hail Mary”.
“We help in many ways, not just with money. Our group makes calls on behalf of these men to arrange services and to plug them into local assistance and support” says Kyle Turley , Board Member, retired NFL player and current touring musician. Turley was the first active player to donate a game check to Gridiron Greats in 2007. Matt Birk , another Gridiron Greats Board Member, and soon to play in his first Super Bowl, added, “I am honored and thankful to help with this cause. The damage goes far beyond the players we help. Their families are greatly affected as well. The ripple effect is enormous.” Birk is not only a Board member but is one of Gridiron Greats largest donors each and every year.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of so many people. The gifts we receive go a long way,” said Jordan. Over the holidays retired NFL players such as Mike Ditka , Ron Mix , Matt Birk , John Elway , Joe Greene , Dave Casper , Gary Fencik , Jim Covert , Conrad Dobler , Stephen Spurrier , Bob Lilly , Paul Flatley , Chuck Mercein made considerable donations to support our cause”.
The group recently benefitted from an event in Florida, which raised approximately $50,000.00, in part due to two Heisman trophy footballs donated by Paul Hornung . In attendance were notables Joe Namath , Mike Ditka , Cris Carter and long time Gridiron Greats supporter Mike Lucci.
“If you are in New Orleans on Friday, I’m looking forward to spending the evening with some of my close NFL friends, sharing stories and meeting the people who come out to support Gridiron Greats and The Kevin Turner Foundation,” says Coach Ditka. “I am honored to co-host this event with Kevin Turner and Kyle Turley . These two charities are doing important work for former NFL players and raising awareness for some of the critical issues facing everyone involved in football at any level. Please join me in supporting these two worthy causes.”
To purchase tickets call Shannon Jordan , Gridiron Greats: (773) 867-8161.
About Gridiron Greats
The GGAF’s mission is to assist dire need retired NFL players who were pioneers of the game and who have greatly contributed to the NFL’s status as the most popular sport in America. GGAF provides hands-on assistance to help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football. The services include medical assistance, transportation costs for medical evaluations and surgeries, dental assistance, housing assistance, financial assistance for utilities, medication, and coordination of services for food, automotive payments and childcare.
About The Kevin Turner Foundation
The Kevin Turner Foundation has been created to bring attention to ALS and the need for a cure; to raise awareness about the seriousness of brain trauma in athletes at every level of competition and its connection to motor neuron diseases like ALS; and to financially support efforts to study, treat, prevent and ultimately cure this disease.