( McClatchy-Tribune photo / August 28, 2003 )
John Mackey changed the game of football on and off the field. The former Baltimore Colt brought grace to a position that had been known for its brutality, and he made the first real headway in the NFL players' fight to earn a more equal share of the pie.
That battle continues as the NFL lockout drags on this summer.
Mr. Mackey, one of the game's great tight ends, a Hall of Famer and one-time president of the NFL Players Association, died Wednesday of frontotemporal dementia, a disease he had battled for 10 years, at Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore. He was 69.
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