SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – John Madden on Thursday reminisced about John Mackey, the rugged Hall of Fame tight end and union president who later fought for stronger health benefits of retired players before struggling with dementia.

The former Baltimore Colts great has died at 69.

John Madden told the KCBS morning crew that Mackey was not just a Hall Of Fame player, he was very active as both the player union president and as a supporter of player causes.

“Everyone respected John Mackey,” said Madden. “He was behind everyone’s cause.  He was always there.”


Madden also recalled how Mackey redefined the tight end position as a pass-catcher.  “There was a time when you didn’t even have tight ends,” said Madden.  “There weren’t many guys (back then) that could do both –  that could block well enough for a good, strong pro football running game and get into the passing game and do anything other than short passes.”

“He became the model for it, he was the tight end everyone was looking for.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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