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Darden Business Partners with NFL Players Association to Establish John Mackey Leadership Forum

Signed commemorative John Mackey jersey // via <a href=""></a>
Signed commemorative John Mackey jersey // via

We came across this from the ProPlayersInsider today, stating that the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business will be working with the NFL Players Association to establish the John Mackey Leadership Forum in honor of the late John Mackey, who passed away this July 6 at the age of 69 after struggling with frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease).

On July 25, the day on which the lockout was declared to be over, Executive Director of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith and current and former NFL players gathered to sign the two commemorative Baltimore Colts John Mackey jerseys.

"One is to you," Smith said as he presented the jerseys to Mackey's wife, Sylvia, at the memorial service in Baltimore. "The other will hang in our office and I am proud to say, becomes the symbol of the new John Mackey Leadership Forum between the NFL Players Association and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. It is from you John that we will teach the importance of loyalty."

Mackey was a tight end who played for the Baltimore Colts (1963-1971) and the San Diego Chargers (1972). He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and the ball carrier for an amazing 75-yard touchdown reception as the Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V, 16-13 over the Dallas Cowboys. He became the first president of the Players Association.

The only connection between Mackey and UVa is former Virginia tight end Heath Miller, who was the recipient of the 2004 John Mackey Award, presented annually to the nation's top tight end. NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

The jersey was signed by Smith and the members of the NFLPA Executive Committee, including Charlie Batch, Cornelius Bennett, Drew Brees, Brian Dawkins, Jim McFarland, Sean Morey and Brian Waters.

More from Smith:

It is from John that we will instill the will to fight for what is right as a team. It is from John that all will learn the necessity of sacrifice. But most of all, it is from John that we must embrace what love means in the game and business of this great sport. Our mission is John's Mission, to inspire and train our leaders in both our history and our will; and to forever serve those who came before us and those who will certainly come afterwards. The only casualty of peace is forgetting both how and who achieved it.