Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey died on Wednesday at the age of 69. He made quite an impact on the tight end position and also did many notable things off the field. Former Lions tight end Charlie Sanders, who is also a Hall-of-Famer, released the following statement on the passing of Mackey:
"His loss is a tremendous loss, not only for the NFL and what he stood for, but it's also a reminder of what this game is all about.
"Even after his career was over with, he remained a hero for a lot of other reasons than just playing football. The primary reason being some of the things that he brought to the forefront of football in terms of injuries and so forth.
"He was a tremendous ball player, and he was a great person and a role model too. When I came into the league as a rookie, he was the premier tight end of the NFL. He really set the standard for the prototype tight end.
"I didn't have a hero or idolize anybody growing up, so he was the one player that I idolized and tried to copy more than anyone else throughout my career. I took pride in trying to get to the top where he was.
"He's going to be sorely missed."