Drew Brees, other players react to progress in labor negotiations

  • Article by: BARRY WILNER , Associated Press
  • Updated: June 16, 2011 - 5:03 PM
hide

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

NEW YORK - Negotiations completed for the day and likely the week, NFL owners are setting sights on their upcoming meeting in Chicago. Many players are looking beyond then — with optimism — toward getting back to work.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners completed two days of talks Wednesday with NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith and a group of players in Maryland. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the two sides have been making progress at several such meetings in the last three weeks.

The person, who spoke anonymously because details of the discussions aren't supposed to be made public, also said a new collective bargaining agreement is not imminent.

Nonetheless, several players expressed confidence that a deal will get done soon and training camps will open on time late in July.

"I know that we've been talking pretty extensively over the last few weeks," said New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, one of 10 players whose names are on an antitrust lawsuit against the league. "It seems like things are moving in the right direction, which is very positive. It's what we always hoped for as players because obviously we're getting to crunch time here."

Close enough to it.

Although no deadlines have been set for the opening of camps, the 32 teams soon must decide whether to delay them, particularly those clubs that stage a portion of camp out of town. Settling early in July almost certainly would provide for full training camps at previously planned locations, although the Minnesota Vikings have said they could delay until July 18 an announcement on whether they will train at their usual site in Mankato.

"I think everyone kind of has that feeling, that this thing's starting to end," said Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth, the team's player representative. "I feel like that's the attitude that everybody has, and you can see everybody preparing that way.

"When you look at the timeline for both sides, it starts to get real serious around this time."

The lockout is in its fourth month. During that time, there have been mediation sessions, court actions in Minnesota and Missouri, and clandestine meetings between Goodell and Smith, a handful of owners and players. Some of those talks have included lawyers on both sides, some haven't.

Such sessions have been critical in past NFL negotiations, dating to the 1980s.

Brees said to be wary of reports that specific portions of a framework for a new CBA are completed.

"Little steps is good. ... I think the gap is being narrowed in a lot of different areas," he said. "It's hard to give any kind of prediction at this point, so any percentages that are thrown out there by unknown sources is something that, you can't necessarily believe everything you hear. But there is progress and that's a good thing."

Movement toward an agreement is in both sides' best interest after a federal appeals court judge warned the owners and players they might not like the upcoming decisions in legal actions sparked by the lockout. Indeed, the court could delay any rulings if a new CBA appears to be near.

If a deal were struck, a free agency period would follow soon after, along with the signing of undrafted rookies. Teams would hold minicamps, which have been put off by the lockout that began March 12.

The labor impasse also has cost the league and some teams advertising and sponsorship money, and some players have not collected workout bonuses. At least seven teams have instituted pay cuts or furloughs of employees who are not players.

The economic pain may not be over. The dealmaking could all come crashing down if one side decides compromise is not in its interest.

"Much can still go wrong — every negotiating session is unique to itself," said Don Yee, who represents Tom Brady and is an adjunct law professor at USC. "Just because one day was good doesn't mean the next day will be, too."

That the lockout has lasted this long is frustrating to at least one player.

"In all honesty, being a professional now in an industry that's as big as the NFL is, it's kind of embarrassing that we're even in a lockout," said Bengals running back Cedric Benson, who will be a free agent once a new CBA is in place. "And having to go through these things and having to come to (the University of Cincinnati) campus and work out and not having a trainer. It's slightly embarrassing, but it is what it is and I have no control over those type of things.

"But it is comforting to hear those guys coming up with a solution."

___

AP Sports Writers Brett Martel in New Orleans and Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this story.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 2 1st Qtr 9:28
Cleveland 0
Phoenix 8 1st Qtr 9:30
Charlotte 6
Dallas 6:30 PM
Detroit
Utah 6:30 PM
Miami
Orlando 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Toronto
Memphis 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Portland
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 0 1st Prd 20:00
New Jersey 0
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 6 1st Half 17:38
Ball State 0
SIU Edwardsville 4 1st Half 16:14
Campbell 5
St Francis-PA 14 1st Half 15:10
Duquesne 3
North Florida 3 1st Half 16:44
Florida State 5
Catawba 10 1st Half 15:18
George Mason 13
Ferrum 2 1st Half 16:48
High Point 4
Hampton 3 1st Half 15:41
Illinois 9
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
Longwood 1 1st Half 17:30
Miami-Ohio 3
Arkansas State 12 1st Half 14:05
Miss State 13
Tennessee 11 1st Half 13:55
NC State 8
NC A&T 4 1st Half 14:59
Ohio State 15
Manhattan 2 1st Half 15:28
Pittsburgh 4
Robert Morris 2 1st Half 17:30
Toledo 4
Char Southern 5 1st Half 17:12
Wofford 5
Kennesaw St 8 1st Half 16:18
Youngstown St 7
Barber-Scotia 4 1st Half 15:40
NC Central 17
Detroit 6:30 PM
UCF
Liberty 6:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
Denver
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
Houston
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Milligan 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
USC Upstate 7:00 PM
Memphis
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Murray State
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Georgia State 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
SMU
Texas State 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
SC State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Chicago State 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Winthrop 8:00 PM
Auburn
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Baylor
San Diego St 8:00 PM
Cincinnati
Eastern Mich 8:00 PM
Michigan State
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Stanford
Incarnate Word 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Northeastern 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Central Arkansas 9:00 PM
New Mexico
Howard 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 34 2nd Half 10:37
Chattanooga 44
Florida A&M 21 1st Half 2:26
Southern U 32
Oklahoma 25 1st Half 4:59
(13) Duke 31
Savannah State 15 1st Half 4:42
Auburn 27
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Kent State
Northern Colorado 0 1st Half 20:00
South Florida 0
Youngstown St 0 1st Half 15:52
Robert Morris 12
Siena 14 1st Half 12:33
Sacred Heart 9
Vermont 8 1st Half 14:15
St Francis-NY 9
(1) South Carolina 11 1st Half 14:41
Hampton 8
Fla Gulf Coast 2 1st Half 19:43
Bethune-Cookman 0
Texas Southern 2 1st Half 18:07
Houston Baptist 3
Northwestern 9 1st Half 15:00
UNLV 11
NC A&T 0 1st Half 20:00
Appalachian St 0
NC Central 0 1st Half 20:00
Coastal Carolina 0
Drexel 8 1st Half 13:35
Quinnipiac 12
Cincinnati 0 1st Half 20:00
Northern Ky 0
Alabama State 0 1st Half 17:12
Georgia Tech 2
Morehead St 10 1st Half 13:46
USC Upstate 9
American Univ 5 1st Half 15:54
Manhattan 9
UNC Greensboro 11 1st Half 13:34
St Bonaventure 11
Arkansas-Monticello 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Prairie View 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
McNeese State 7:00 PM
(3) Texas
Yale 7:00 PM
Wagner
Oakland 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Eastern Kentucky 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
SIU-Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
McMurry 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Portland 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
North Texas 9:00 PM
San Francisco

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close