New York Jets legend Mark Gastineau begged his friend, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, to help former players who are ailing and in need.
“I want the NFL to treat people right,” Gastineau told WOR radio host Pete McCarthy, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I want to hold you to your promise, Roger Goodell. You said, ‘Anything I need!’ … I want the players to be treated right.”
Last year Gastineau was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The former Jet believes that the diagnosis is a result of brain trauma from playing in the NFL for 10 years. He has known Goodell since the early 1980s and has become friends with the commissioner. He is part of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL but hasn’t received any money yet.
“The commissioner told me, he said, ‘Listen, Mark, you know what? You need anything, let me know.’ He was my ball boy. I treated him great. He told me. Hey, Roger Goodell, treat people right,” he said.
He added, “I used to think I was all that — I did. But you know what? I was nothing. You know why? Because of what happened to me, and I’ll tell you this much: The NFL is wrong. The NFL is wrong. They’re wrong. I’m not telling them to give me zillions of dollars. I don’t want zillions of dollars. I want to be treated with respect.”
Gastineau was drafted by the Jets in 1979 and, in 1984, he set an NFL record with 22 sacks, which was broken in 2001 by New York Giants legend Michael Strahan. He finished his career with 74 sacks, five Pro Bowl selections, and was named to the first-team All-Pro three times.
After football, he became a boxer and was 15-2 with one no-contest in 18 professional fights. Let’s hope that Goodell helps his friend Gastineau and other former players who need help.