ELKHART - Gale Sayers made a prediction Wednesday about the National Football League labor situation.
While he did not give a timetable, the Pro Football Hall of Famer said that the strike will end and games will be played in 2011.
"It's not going to happen," said Sayers of the possibility of no football this fall and winter. "Don't even think they're not going to play. You will have a football season this year."
The reason is a whole lot of greenbacks.
"There's too much money out there," said Sayers, who was at Elkhart General Hospital to speak to a large gathering of knee and hip replacement patients and candidates. "Nobody can afford not to have a football season."
Sayers pointed out that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can't sustain his new stadium without the game-day dollars and other streams of revenue.
Players accustomed to taking in all the cash, which accounted for about 67 percent of the game's total intake last season, won't want to miss their paychecks either.
There are not guaranteed contracts in the NFL. So if they don't play, the big dollars dry up.
"Exactly right," Sayers said.
The man that has owned a home in Wakarusa since 1965 also addressed the money-driven situation in college sports, where there is plenty of scandal these days with players taking illegal payments, schools going on probation and high-profile coaches getting their pink slips.
"There's a lot of greed going on," Sayers said. "You can look at these schools and you know who they are. It's sad. Personally, I don't think you should be selling your championship rings or jerseys. You don't need to do that. But kids do it. Why? Because they see other kids doing it."
Sayers said the NFL has a better rule than the National Basketball Association. In football, a player has to stay in college for three years until he is draft eligible. In the NBA, it's only one year.
"I hate the saying they've got now of 'One and Done,'" Sayers said. "You go to school for one year then the pros take you.
"It's crazy what the NBA is doing."
Sayers said the odds of making it as a pro is too long not to take advantage of a college education, especially today when the cost of tuition at most major schools is upwards of $25,000 per year.
Sayers, 68, chastised the current NFL players for not having a sense of history.
"Players today feel like they made the game what it is," Sayers said. "They don't understand that they are standing on our shoulders."
The folks that played from the 1930s to the 1970s who made very little pay paved the way for today's multimillionaires.
"We had five Hall of Famers die this year," Sayers said. "But they forget about those people."
Sayers said the NFL Players Association and the league itself should do more with all the money they have to help the older players who helped build the game and are now dying from the injuries they sustained on the gridiron.