Congressmen send letter to NFLPA head

Three members of Congress sent a letter on March 4 to DeMaurice Smith, urging the NFL Players Association's executive director to have a face-to-face meeting with NFL Alumni Association executive director and president George Martin.

Representatives William "Lacy" Clay (D-Mo.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) wrote the letter to Smith after having a "very open and candid discussion" with Martin.

Shuler is a former NFL quarterback for the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.

"As you know many of our colleagues have concerns about issues facing retired players. For several years, we have been troubled to learn about the accounts of former players -- some of whom were gridiron legends in their day," the congressmen wrote. "Many of us believe the NFL and the NFLPA must do more for retired players by improving their post-career benefits."

The congressmen acknowledged the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA in their letter and wrote that "Mr. Martin expressed to us his goal of ensuring that pensions and other retiree benefits are protected and expanded during the current round of bargaining."

The current collective bargaining agreement was set to expire last week, but two extensions now have pushed the cutoff to the end of Friday. Talks with a federal mediator are ongoing in Washington.

Martin, who spent his 14-season career with the Giants before retiring in 1988, also was a president of the NFL Players Association.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.