As you can probably tell by my comments over the last few days, I am genuinely worried about the game that has changed my life. Yes, it gave me financial security, but it also gave me an identity. I love the fact that I played in the NFL. The best friends I have ever known have been associated with the game. The greatness of the game and its role in our society is significant. We are devoted fans who love the game. So why do we all feel so insignificant watching this money grab? Maybe we are, but it sure doesn't make me want to put on a Bengals' jersey and paint my face. I'm starting to feel a little silly that I feel as strongly as I do about a game that is suddenly all about the money.
Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, I am trying to push the two sides with the fans as my lever. I read a quote from Robert Kraft in the Boston Globe that made me believe that at least somebody has a feel for the fans. Mr. Kraft wrote, "The problem can be solved. I really believe that. One of my concerns is we not aggravate our fan base, because they don’t understand and they don’t want to understand whether it’s the owners, the players [at fault], they just want to have football.
“We have to be very careful — and I think we’re coming to that point now — where we start to hurt ourselves collectively in the eyes of our fans. Because in the end, the fans just want football. They don’t want to hear about all of this meaningless squabbling."
Amen Mr. Kraft. Now is when we need rational men like Robert Kraft to step forward. Mr. Kraft was a fan long before he became an owner. He is a terrific family man who can see the same view of this process that we are all watching. Please Mr. Kraft take the lead. There are other owners who will be pushing various agendas, but as a player, I would trust Robert Kraft to make a fair deal. I really would. So far Mr. Kraft has not been willing to take the lead, probably because the Hawks always get the most attention. But Kraft is liked and respected by almost everyone in the NFL. He is tough but fair. The players would listen to him. Tom Brady could be the point man. Lawyers be gone. There is a deal to be made, and the time is now. Please Mr. Kraft, take the lead.