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Canisius kid Phil McConkey goes full blast on NFLPA, Drew Brees

By Tim Graham

Since we launched the Press Coverage blog, we've tried to deliver more than just Buffalo Bills items to our Western New York readers.

We've made it a point to highlight our hometown boys scattered around the league, whether it's Jay Skurski's weekly roundup of how the locals fared or articles on the Gronkowski clan, UB alums such as James Starks or the recent run of St. Francis High grads landing prominent NFL jobs.

Now brings to our attention a rather incendiary item from Canisius High graduate Phil McConkey.

The towel-waving Super Bowl winner was a guest of "Boomer & Carton" today on WFAN in New York. He attacked one the NFL's most beloved players, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, over a lack of respect for older players who are suffering.

Brees serves on the NFL Players Association's executive committee and infamously suggested a couple weeks after the 2011 lockout began that struggling former players have only themselves to blame for their woes.

"There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions," Brees said." They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces, and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say 'Please make up for my bad judgment.' "

That sentiment still stings McConkey, who played seven seasons with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers and Phoenix Cardinals in the 1980s.

McConkey wondered why more former players aren't suing the NFLPA along with the NFL over brain injuries. McConkey claimed the union is more responsible than the league.

"I see so many of my colleagues suffering terribly," McConkey said in quotes transcribed for WFAN's website (the link also has an audio file). "And I don't blame ... I really don't blame the owners and the management. I don't. It's the Players Association. They're the ones that should have taken care of the guys that went before them. And they didn't, and they still don't."

McConkey, the first Navy Midshipman since Roger Staubach in 1969 to serve his full tour before joining the NFL, participated in the 1987 NFL strike.

The strike, McConkey said, "benefited ... some of the guys of today. There are some guys today that have absolutely no clue and that run their mouths. And Drew Brees is one of them

"I know he's canonized, and people think he's great. If he got in front of a group of ex-players, I don't know what would happen. ... It's disgusting, but that's some of the mentality that's around."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |