Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 7:57 pm

Freeman: owners back to playing mind-games

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

That crash you just heard behind you? That was the sound of the optimism surrounding the labor negotiations plummeting to the ground.* And if it startled you, that’s OK. It sounds like it was kind of a scary day.

While most everybody lately has been so positive about the lockout ending soon (talks between the players and owners were going well, the lawyers were being kept out of the room and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had become buddy-buddy), CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman has some bad news for you.

Today was not a good day on the labor front.

Freeman writes that the owners are back to playing mind-games. Writes Freeman: “I believe it is the owners who are destroying this round of talks, even as the two sides are extremely close. I believe the sources that tell me owners are playing mind games with the players: getting their optimism up and then down hoping the players cave out of frustration.”

I don’t see the players getting frustrated and caving. I see the players getting frustrated and then getting pissed. And the news makes you wonder if the owners still are content to take a risk and hope that the NFLPA cracks once the players start missing game checks. That would be one hell of a risk to take, because tactics like this seemingly only would make the players’ resolve grow stronger.


Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

*Or it might be an intruder of some kind. Maybe you should stop reading for a second and go check it out.**

**Everything is cool, right? OK. Good. Glad to hear it.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 3:26 pm

Herm Edwards speaks at NFLPA rookie symposium

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Herm Edwards was an NFL coach for eight seasons with the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs. He's probably best remembered for his motivational skills, even if he wasn't particularly well versed in the nuances of clock management. So it makes perfect sense that he would speak to the 155 rookies at the NFLPA's rookie symposium.

If you're looking to get pumped up for the final few hours of work, this should do the trick.

Some highlights:

"When this thing comes to fruition -- and it will -- they're going to kick the ball off, you're going to go to training camp. If you're not ready to go physically? That's on you. Don't blame the lockout. Don't blame the commissioner. Don't blame De Smith. When you go to training camp, nobody wants to know about 'Well, we missed 20 practices because we didn't get OTAs' -- we don't care. Nobody cares."

"It really doesn't matter when you got drafted. I was not drafted. I was a free agent. Played for 10 years, men. Never missed a game, never missed a practice. I was ready to go when they kicked the ball off. Make sure you're ready to go."

"Sometimes talent can be a curse. You got so much talent you don't live up to it. … One thing about talent. You didn't earn it, God gave it to you. … Let's get that straight. It ain't like you went somewhere and worked out and got some talent. … You got talent. But does the production meet the talent? … Because if you're not a productive player, then it becomes a curse."

Now go out and Terry Tate somebody.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 9:32 am

Podcast: Free agency could be a frenzied hot mess

Posted by Ryan Wilson

For no official football, there's plenty going on in late June and we cover a lot of it in the latest Eye on Football podcast.

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are meeting in Minnesota in the hopes of ending the lockout. And then there's Terrell Owens, 37, who has no plans on retiring … even though he recently had ACL surgery. We're not sure who will have a need for him at this stage of the proceedings, although he's destined for Canton. (Right? Right.)

Related geriatric talking points: Tiki Barber, you may have heard, wants to return to the NFL. Tiki's sort of like Terrell in that he can be problematic in the locker room, but the difference is that even TO had supporters. We have yet to hear one person -- including twin brother Ronde -- come forward in Tiki's defense.

Finally, we discuss Pete Prisco's top 50 free agents list. For the most part, we agree, although Michael Huff at No. 11 might be a tad high.

Talking starts below.

Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 8:08 pm

Goodell to speak at NFLPA rookie symposium

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The offseason is all about hope. Fans hope that their teams will finally make the playoffs. GMs and coaches hope that the guy they traded up for last April pans out. And this offseason in particular, owners and players are hoping that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith can solve the labor impasse, end the lockout and give fans all they really want: football.

Various reports suggest that there could be a new collective bargaining agreement by mid-July, which will make for a frenzied, abbreviated free agency period, but means that training camps and the season start on time. Sports Illustrated's Peter King reports that we're one step closer to that reality.

"DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA executive director, asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to speak at the NFLPA rookie symposium, and Goodell agreed," King wrote Tuesday evening. "The commissioner's appearance is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla. The symposium, titled The Business of Football: Rookie Edition, is being held at the IMG Academy in nearby Bradenton, Fla."

Smith and Goodell were both in Minnesota Tuesday, meeting one on one without players or owners present. It was the first of four days of labor meetings. According to King, Smith and Goodell left town on the same flight Tuesday night, headed for Florida.

"The plan is for Goodell to speak at the symposium around 8 a.m. Wednesday, then Smith and Goodell immediately will fly back to Minneapolis and reconvene meetings with Judge Arthur J. Boylan after lunchtime," King said.

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It's the latest indication that Smith and Goodell, adversaries at various stages of the labor proceedings, have found common ground and are genuinely working to end the lockout.

King adds that "None of this should mask the fact that the two sides still have significant progress to make after multiple meetings in different parts of the country. One player representative told SI.com recently that he'd been told by the union that a deal is not imminent. But the signs continue to be good with meaningful dialogue and concessions from both sides apparently happening."

While CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote Tuesday that "This coming week, various league and player sources have told me, might be the most important of this fight. This week could determine when this labor fight finally ends." Freeman added that "There is one difference about this week of negotiating, I'm told, and it's an interesting one. Both Goodell and Smith feel like they've been handed more respective authority to make an agreement on behalf of their constituents; Goodell on behalf of the owners and Smith on behalf of the players."

At the very least, it's progress. And progress means hope.

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Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:49 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 9:57 am

Rookie symposium to help players with money

L. Ellis had to file for bankruptcy last year despite making $20 million during his career (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFLPA, even in the face of a lockout that hopefully will be over next month, will conduct a rookie symposium today in Bradenton, Fla., and the key piece of the advice will be NOT TO BE STUPID WITH YOUR FREAKIN’ MONEY!!!!

According to Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com, the rookies will attend a 90-minute seminar in which they will learn to be prudent in the way they spend their salary the first couple of years in the league. In fact, they’ll be advised not to make any big financial decisions or spend any significant amount of money for, at least, their rookie season.

“These players have a tendency to get approached by a lot of people, family and friends,” Karl McDonnell, the COO of Strayer University, told Marvez. “We’ve actually drafted a letter they can use that says, ‘I’m going to take the next year getting used to being in the NFL. I’m not going to make any major commitments,’ just to give them a little breathing room.

“One of the things we want these young players to realize is the decisions they make in the next 1-2 years are really going to impact their lives forever. We want them to get off to a good start.”

After the NFL canceled its annual symposium because of the lockout, the NFLPA took the liberty of scheduling one on its own. It’s estimated that about half of the incoming rookies will attend.

Honestly, that’s probably very disappointing to the trade association -- and I think CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman would agree -- since, as Freeman reports, the NFLPA would pick up all rookies’ travel costs.

Especially when they could hear from a former player like Luther Ellis, a first-round pick for the Lions in 1995 who squandered $20 million during his 11-year career and had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. Ellis (pictured at right), who will speak at the symposium, points to his rookie season as the beginning of his downfall.

“The biggest thing that took us down the path of bankruptcy was being overextended to the point that I was counting on future earnings that didn’t happen and being involved in businesses that I shouldn’t have been involved with,” he said. “As good as the opportunities maybe seemed, if I would have put that money aside and just earned a modest interest rate of 6-7 percent, I’d be so much further ahead right now. And then I would have had the chance to sit back and look at what are the real opportunities, my personal passions, my wife’s personal passions and (decide) the things we want to be involved in. It would have changed our whole future.”

If I might add my two cents (though I realize I haven’t been invited to speak at the symposium and I only had to take one math class in college -- statistics, but I got a B!!!)), here is my advice: Don’t buy an expensive car.

When you walk through a NFL players' parking lot, you see a ton of fancy rides; and one of the guys who played for the Bengals who we knew could least afford a six-figure car, was the one who had multiple cars of that nature. His lifestyle was totally dependent on him staying on a NFL team, and he’ll be a real question mark to make a squad this year.

Don’t buy something that loses so much of its value when you drive off the lot. Just don’t buy an expensive new car right away.

“Really it comes down to discipline of not overextending yourself,” McDonnell said. “Anyone who comes into a large sum of money, there’s a temptation to do that.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 7:19 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 7:28 pm

Will the NFL enforce its conduct policy?

GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

When the NFL lockout ends, what will the league do about the players who were arrested* and potentially violated the personal conduct policy?

*There were a ton of them after all -- and that was just Titans WR Kenny Britt!!

It sounds like, as NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells the Tennessean, the league will act as if the personal conduct policy applied all along and punish those offenders who were naughty during the lockout.

“The personal conduct policy is not part of the CBA,” Aiello told the paper. “It is a league policy established by the commissioner. We review any violations of law by NFL employees for potential discipline. The personal conduct policy is not being applied to players now but will be applied when they return. Players will be held accountable for violations of law that occurred during the lockout.”

Personally, I don’t see how the NFL can enforce that (well, I can see how, considering the NFL makes its own rules; I just don’t agree with it), especially since the NFL is actually preventing the players from working.

So, how fair is this tact, assuming the league actually punishes players?

The Tennessean talked to a couple of sports legal experts. One of them agreed with Aiello’s take on the matter, saying the players were still employees of the league, even during a lockout. But the other, a sports law professor at Vermont Law School, had another take.

“They’ve frozen the employment of NFL players,” McCann said. “So … the players will likely say, ‘If we’re not getting paid, then we’re not obligated to follow our contracts. You’re preventing us from obtaining our employment benefits, so why should we have to satisfy our employment obligations?’

“That’s what employment is -- a series of benefits and obligations.”

But if the NFL doesn’t see it that way, the league isn’t going to care. Unless somebody sues somebody else, and the court system gets to decide who is right and who is wrong.

Because so far during the lockout, that tactic has worked so efficiently.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:57 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 2:30 pm

Report: DeMaurice Smith is getting good reviews

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you don’t want to read yet another lockout story today about the state of the lockout, at the very least read the third and fourth paragraphs of this NFL.com story.

Because it’s actually (more) pretty good news.

According to Albert Breer, one of the bigger issues in the negotiations is (obviously) how to split the $9 billion, but another enormous obstacle to getting a deal done was the mistrust between the two sides.

Now, Breer writes that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has earned the trust and respect of the owners, and that seems to have made life a little smoother for all involved.

Which is pretty positive, I’d say.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:47 pm

Report: First day of negotiations was 'fruitful'

Smith and GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the owners and players set to negotiate again today in Boston, it sounds like their swing to a new CBA in the near future continues on a good track.

According to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, talks on Wednesday were “very fruitful,” and they will continue until a deal is reached.

"We are headed in the right direction," the source told Paolantonio. "There is a desire on both sides to reach an agreement sooner rather than later."

That’s not to say any of this is surprising. As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman recently told us, it would take a real knucklehead to mess up these negotiations.

On Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell apparently shared with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith some of the feedback he heard from the owners in their meeting earlier this week in Chicago.

This afternoon, the NFLPA will update the players on the latest news.

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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