Posted on: July 24, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 12:41 pm

"Opt out" still a topic of debate

I've been told it's not a deal killer, but players apparently are still trying to get an opt out worked into their agreement with the NFL.

As the 10-year proposal stood when it was presented by owners last Thursday, there was no opt out. Players would like to see that changed. Of course, they wanted to see it changed last Thursday, too, but the idea was rejected when the subject was broached that morning.

Sources close to talks late last week said it was open for discussion, but I was told it would be "a hard sell" with owners. Apparently, players want the flexibility to opt out of the agreement after the eighth season -- a freedom that isn't dissimilar to what owners gained under the last agreement.

That was signed in 2006, with owners opting out two years later. It was that move that led to last season's uncapped year and the four-month lockout that is about to end.

Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:52 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:37 pm

Trask explains Raiders' vote

All but one club approved the NFL's proposed agreement for a settlement to the lockout, and can anyone guess who abstained? If you said the Oakland Raiders, go to the head of the class.

Of course, it was the Oakland Raiders. It's always the Oakland Raiders. If there was anything that was normal about Thursday, it was that the Raiders refused to sign off on the deal ... and now we know why. Because we asked team CEO Amy Trask.

"(Because of) profound philosophical differences, of both a football and economical nature," she said. "We have consistently expressed those views to the league. We're not reluctant to share our views, and we're also not reluctant to vote in the manner that we believe is in the best interests of the National Football League and to vote the courage of our convictions."

Trask could not be more specific, saying that the differences were "of a football and economic nature -- systemic issues in both regards," and, no, I don't know what that means, either. But I do know why the Raiders voted to abstain instead of oppose the proposed deal ... again, because we asked.

"We voted in the manner that we believe is appropriate," she said. "Look, we want football. This is not about not wanting the football season to start. Of course, we want football. And our organization has a tremendous, tremendous track record of the manner in which it has related to and taken care of players."

Category: NFL
Tags: lockout
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:41 pm

Player safety spelled out

I know one group of people who won't be happy with the NFL's new player safety rules: Coaches. They drastically change how practices will be conducted.

Here's what we have for safety issues under proposed agreement of owners: Off-season training is cut from 14 to 10 weeks; OTAs are reduced from a maximum of 12 to 9; the number of padded practices are reduced to 14 during the regular season, and they can't be run on consecutive days; and there can be no two-a-day workouts during training camps. Not only that but the second day of practices must be walk-throughs, without helmets.

Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout
Posted on: July 21, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 6:51 pm

Revnue sharing on the table

So now it looks as if owners won't vote on a settlement until shortly before 8 p.m., or shortly before players hold their conference call.

Where once owners thought they could leave here with a deal by 5 p.m., they're still in the hotel -- and one source told me why: Because there was a prolonged discussion on supplementary revenue sharing, a sticky subject that dates back to the 2006 negotiations.

Apparently, Steelers' president and co-owner Art Rooney II and Colts' owner Jim Irsay brokered a compromise that owners accepted, a necessary step before they sign off on a deal to take to the players. Rooney and Irsay are, as one source put it, "guys who are somewhere in the middle" of big and small-market clubs, which made them perfect spokesmen for compromise.

Irsay appeared in front of media late this afternoon to say that a vote will be taken and that he expects it will be passed. Both were supposed to happen ... but neither was expected to take this long.

Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout
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