Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: July 23, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 8:47 pm
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Signs pointing to Monday presser for new CBA?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

One source told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman on Saturday that so much progress was made in negotiations between owners and players that a deal was near. The source also thought a vote on a new collective bargaining agreement might come in the next 24-48 hours.

"So close that the executive committee might vote as soon as Sunday," Freeman writes, "though the player source felt Monday was more likely."

Either way, we'll take it. We've gone more than four months without football and at this point anything short of "SEASON CANCELED" is encouraging news.

Perhaps more evidence that the end is near: ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported via Twitter that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "have worked directly to assure that nothing goes off path. Exec committee called this a.m. Expect presser Monday."

Mortensen added that Smith and Goodell are "working directly on couple finishing details but [the] trust is there. … In fact, Goodell may be invited to [the Monday] presser."

Given all the false starts in recent days, we'd understand your skepticism. NFL Network's Albert Breer isn't yet willing to commit to a Monday press conference, instead opting for "standby mode."

"NFLPA currently has its executive committee and player reps on standby for Monday," he tweeted Saturday afternoon. "If things keep going well, likely exec comm comes to DC."

PFT's Greg Rosenthal also is trying to keep things in perspective. "We’ve learned to that a deal isn’t done until it’s done, so we’re tempering our optimism slightly."

Meanwhile, we can only imagine that ESPN's Adam Schefter is taking perverse pleasure in stirring the pot. Here is the entirety of his tweet from Saturday afternoon.



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Posted on: July 23, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Bengals TE says 'people have started to cool off'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When Roger Goodell announced during a Thursday press conference that the owners had voted 31-0 on a proposed settlement to end the lockout, the jubilation -- and the sense of relief that accompanied it -- was palpable. It was also fleeting.

In the hours after Goodell's announcement, many players said they felt blindsided. Some called the owners "arrogant" and their proposal a "power play." Still, there was optimism that the lockout wouldn't drag on much longer.

"We are going to get a deal done," Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison said late Thursday night.

Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly, an alternate player representative, sounded equally upbeat, though he recognized that players were initially concerned.

"I think guys at first were angry [Thursday] because the first time we heard about the proposal was on TV when they voted on it," said Kelly, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy. "You need to negotiate and do it the right way.

"People have started to cool off. It's not about egos and personal feelings. It's a business. All in all it's going to work out and we're going to be ready to play."

In related Bengals-lockout news, the organization emailed season-ticket holders Thursday announcing that the lockout was over. We applaud the the team's confidence, although its credibility takes a hit when you read sentences like this: "This year — like others before it — we will focus our energies on returning to the Super Bowl again."

Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar sums it up nicely. "The fact that the Bengals' organization (long known as one of the league's most parsimonious and least competent, though we certainly don't include Marvin Lewis in that equation) is out there with this one will just provide a bit of comic relief in what has been a very arduous and unnecessarily dramatic process."

So, yes, thanks again for the laughs, Cincinnati.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: July 23, 2011 9:56 am
 

Report: Jackson will sign off on settlement

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Friday evening, Eye on Football's Will Brinson outlined what needs to happen in the coming days for both the owners and players to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement and for there to be a 2011 NFL season.

One of the ancillary issues involves Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who also happens to be one of the named plaintiffs in the Tom Brady v. NFL lawsuit. According to a report earlier this week, Jackson was seeking either $10 million or to immediately become an unrestricted free agent before he would sign off on a settlement.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Saturday morning that Jackson is "now is willing to release his claim without compensation."

(Patriots lineman Logan Mankins allegedly made similar demands, which his agent refuted. Either way, Mankins said Thursday that he will sign off to settle the case without seeking compensation.)

There now appears to be one fewer obstacle between the owners, players and a 2011 season. More reason for optimism: CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported Friday that negotiations will continue through the weekend. "The players don't really need that much time to sort through the offer. … The issues remaining can be solved fairly easily and quickly if they wanted."

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Game-day rosters expand to 46, no third QBs

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The owners and players haven't yet agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, but they have reached a consensus on this: the NFL Management Council has informed clubs that game-day rosters will increase from 45 to 46 players, and the emergency third quarterback designation no longer exists.

In practice, this means that teams will now dress their No. 3 quarterback as an active player or, take their chances with two QBs and use the roster spot for depth at another position. Which, save the rare occasion, isn't much of a rule change at all.

But as PFT's Michael David Smith points out, the emergency quarterback rule did come into play during last season's NFC Championship Game between Chicago and Green Bay. After Bears QB Jay Cutler left early in the third quarter with a knee injury, and with backup Todd Collins struggling, head coach Lovie Smith benched Collins for No. 3 QB Caleb Hanie.

At the time, the rules prohibited the Nos. 1 or 2 QBs from returning to the field since Hanie had played prior to the fourth quarter. To his credit, Hanie played well (and Cutler's knee injury was severe enough that he couldn't have played even if he wanted to), but the Bears still lost. Now with the new rule in place, the third quarterback can enter the game at any point without restriction.

In related roster news: according to a Thursday report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn, an NFC personnel executive said that his team has been told that training camp rosters will be expanded from 80 to 90 players. 

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Pash: HGH testing is coming, players support it

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There may not yet be an agreement between the owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement, but NFL attorney Jeff Pash says that the league not only plans to institute random blood testing for human growth hormone during the 2011 season, but that the NFLPA fully supports it.

"We expect that we will have testing for HGH," Pash told the New York Daily News. "I think that both sides believe that's important for the integrity of the game and that we should continue to be leaders here. I think that's a view that's strongly held by the players as it by us.

"How soon can it happen?" Pash asked. "Some issues needed to be worked out. It will take some time to get that ramped up, but we would hope that it could be ramped up by the start of the season."

In the past, players have opposed blood tests. Former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said in 2006 that "It is invasive, and too many things can go wrong with this … You can call me back and tell me where you have a reliable test. A urine test. Then we'll have something to talk about. I'm not interested in turning my players into pin cushions."

And former NFL tight end Mark Breuner, during a 2010 interview with the Washington Postcalled the process "extremely invasive ... We have one of the most aggressive, productive drug-testing policies in all of sports. To go to that extreme, I'm not sure that's good for the health of an athlete."

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Pash was asked if he believes HGH is widespread among NFL players. "I'm not saying it is rampant in the league," he told the Daily News. "But what I am saying is we should be leaders in ensuring and doing everything we can to promote the integrity of the game and the health of the players, and they agree with that and we agree with that."

In March, FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez reported that Dr. Gary Wadler, who has worked closely with both the World Anti-Doping Agency and White House Office of Natural Drug Control Policy, applauded the NFL's decision to make HGH testing mandatory as part of its labor proposal to the NFLPA. Wadler also said any protests from athletes about the blood work required to conduct the test "border on the nonsensical."

"I'd be very disappointed if the NFL does not get in lock with the rest of the world -- and this goes for (Major League) baseball as well -- and employ blood testing," Wadler said at the time. "Any concerns the athletes have of a needle ... It's almost comical to think a 300-pound athlete is afraid of a little needle prick."

It appears that the NFLPA will not vote Friday on the new CBA, which means we'll have to wait at least one more day to find if, as Pash suggests, the players are on board with random blood tests for HGH.


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Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:33 am
 

Mawae: players reviewing NFL proposal



Posted by Ryan Wilson

In light of a hectic Thursday that included NFL owners voting to approve the new collective bargaining agreement, and the players subsequently declining to, NFLPA President Kevin Mawae released a statement Friday morning.

"Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification. There will not be any further NFLPA statements today out of respect for the Kraft family while they mourn the loss of Myra Kraft."

Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, passed away Wednesday and the funeral was Friday morning.

Although it appears that the NFLPA will not vote on the proposed CBA today, there is still a sense that a deal will get done soon.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 6:30 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Report: training camp rosters could expand to 90

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn might be relatively new to breaking news on Twitter but he's one of the best beat writers in the country. So when he passes something along, whatever the medium, it's worth paying attention.

On Thursday afternoon, amid the maelstrom of the latest labor negotiations goings-on, McGinn tweeted two choice nuggets that might have otherwise gotten lost in the mix.

On Tuesday we mentioned an ESPN Wisconsin report that said the Packers told their players to be ready to report this Saturday, even though communication between teams and players is prohibited during the lockout. (The Packers denied the report, by the way.)

So if, as McGinn hears, roughly a third of the league is in violation of this rule, what will NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell do about it? Our guess: nothing. Given all the other things on his plate, we're not sure this ranks particularly high on the to-do list. And who knows, maybe Goodell feels similarly about punishing players who struggled to walk the straight and narrow at any point in the last four months, too.

McGinn tweet No. 2:

This isn't the first time we've heard mention of training camp roster expansion. Last month, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora wrote: "The league's competition committee has broached the idea of expanding training-camp rosters for 2011, considering all of the offseason training activities and teaching time that has been lost, as well as the months of evaluation that teams normally would have to work with depth players and prospects. The idea has been embraced by numerous general managers I spoke to this week and would receive significant support by their ranks if put to a vote."

As as PFT's Michael David Smith noted at the time, "Presumably, the NFLPA* would support the idea as well: Ten more players on each training camp roster means 320 more opportunities for professional football players to find jobs. Having more players in camp might also allow each individual player to take fewer reps and therefore lessen the risk of injury."

Finally, something everyone can agree on. We think.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Recertification of NFLPA becomes major issue

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

ATLANTA -- NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith briefly stepped out of the trade association meetings in Washington this afternoon and told the media gathered outside why recertification of the union is so important.

Thus, he confirmed to all that there is still at least one big issue to settle before the players decide to agree to a labor settlement.

"Every individual person has to make a decision about whether they want to be part of the union" Smith said. "Recommendations made by the executive committee are just that. The individual decisions are something that our players take extremely seriously."

Smith also took a shot at owners who questioned the union's original intentions when they decertified. (You may recall the "sham" argument?)

"I know there are certain things swirling out there," Smith said before looking directly at the NFL Network camera. "And I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we might not even be a real union.

"Well, guess what -- the decision to decertify was important because at the time we were a real union. And the decision for our players as men to come back as a union is going to be an equally serious and sober one that they have to make."

Taking a decision like recertificaiton seriously is better than saying that the union will just kind of screw around and that it’ll be discussed over multiple cocktails. But it also means that everyone involved -- including fans -- may have to wait for football a little longer, with recertification becoming another possible impediment to a new deal.

Previously, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported that Patriots G Logan Mankins and Chargers WR Vincent Jackson -- and their demand for $10 million -- have been the cause for the delay in the NFLPA agreeing to a settlement. And some say it’s NFLPA Jeffrey Kessler who is gumming up the works.

But if the trade association decides NOT to recertify, there's no guarantee that the owners would agree to strike a deal at all, especially since the league then would be subjected to anti-trust legislation.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com