The latest phase of an effort to help needy, retired National Football League players has raised 50-thousand dollars from the public through an auction and donations, bringing the total to about 200-thousand dollars.
And the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund says three individuals, who wish to remain anonymous, have pledged another 200-thousand dollars for the cause.
The fund was launched by Jerry Kramer, star right guard of the Green Bay Packers four decades ago under Vince Lombardi. Kramer started the effort by auctioning off a replica of his Super Bowl One ring last spring, raising more than 22-thousand dollars to help supplement pension and disability benefits for other former players.
Fund executive director Jennifer Smith says about 125-thousand dollars was raised through donations and by auctioning about 50 items earlier this month, before the 50-thousand dollars during the second phase.
Plans had originally called for holding one auction each year, while accepting donations year-round.
But Smith says so many sports memorabilia items and sports celebrity experiences are being donated as word of the effort has circulated that plans now call for a rolling auction. She says additional items are thus being added to the auction whenever they become available, with bids being accepted on them for ten days. They will continue to be offered on Kramer's Web site, http://www.jerrykramer.com.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)