Money isn’t bad for NFL players today, but some stars from years past continue to struggle with medical and other bills. Mike Ditka is hosting a major event in Chicago to continue his fundraising efforts on their behalf.
Over 40 NFL players will gather in Chicago this weekend for the Gridiron Greats fundraising party.
The foundation is headed by former Bears’ coach Mike Ditka, who has brought the plight of retired players to the spotlight through visits to Washington and the fundraising efforts he started a couple of years ago. The Gridiron Greats fund assists down-on-their-luck players from years ago with medical and living expenses.
While high rollers may pay to play golf or blackjack with the ex-NFL stars who’ve committed to attend, the focus of this year’s event from a collectors standpoint is the autograph session taking place at the Westin Hotel in Lombard on Saturday from 4 PM to 7 PM.
Ditka will be joined by former teammate Gale Sayers, along with Paul Hornung, Deacon Jones, Mel Renfro, Dante Lavelli, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and a number of other players. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gridiron Greats cause. Autograph prices range from $20 to $50, with most on the lower end. Inscriptions will be included at no extra charge.
There will also be a memorabilia auction associated with the event, although no details seem to be available online.