Have we all taken for granted that a labor deal has to be in place by July 21 (Thursday)? Perhaps, yes. So it's a bit sobering to hear NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, speaking to reporters before the NFLPA's executive committee gets set to review a proposed labor deal, downplay the significance of that date.
"We're not tied to a timeline of July 21," Mawae said outside the NFLPA offices before heading in to review the proposal. "Our timeline is to get the best deal for our players. We're not going to agree to any deal unless it's the right deal for all the players."
See, again, everyone's assumed -- because of the good vibe going down in labor negotiations -- that the executive committee would walk into the NFLPA offices today, take a look at the deal, tell all the players they were good to go and then everyone would collectively high-five and football would be back.
It's pretty obvious from Mawae's comments that such a scenario isn't guaranteed. And that he's not necessarily "in-tune" with another potential sticking point -- the settlement of the Brady v. NFL class-action lawsuit.
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"Obviously this litigation with the named plaintiffs -- there's a process and I'm not familiar with the legal part of it," Mawae said. "Whatever argument there is going on between them, I think there's a lot of sensationalism going on."
Look, his lack of clear-cut understanding of how the named plaintiffs will end up being compensated doesn't mean Mawae's not in touch with those guys. It's necessary for Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins and the rest of the guys on the lawsuit to settle their legal issues with the NFL before we see a settlement.
And maybe at the end of the day, there's an approved proposal that's heading to the owners' meeting in Atlanta for ratification tomorrow.
But Mawae's comments are a tangible reminder that there are lots of moving parts in this deal, and even though everyone seems full of sunshine and rainbows when it comes to a labor deal getting done, it's still not done yet.
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