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Packers: NFL Lockout–Owners Power Play & Players Reactions

Posted: 22 Jul 2011 04:32 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi: NFL owners power play in NFL lockout.

COMMENTARY: It’s Friday morning following last night’s events surrounding the lockout and proposed owner’s CBA deal. Yesterday afternoon, on the national news media, the NFL owners pulled a slick public relations power play with the lockouted out players. They approved their CBA version proclaiming that the players simply had to ratify the agreement. Thus, they put the ball in the players’ court. Then the players reacted with anger and confusion stating they had not reviewed the CBA and certain unresolved issues remained. Late Thursday, they did not vote on the CBA deal waiting for Friday to make a decision. According to the Packers report, the players are upset with quotes and owners CBA version timeline:

The players feeling irked and, in the words of former Packers and Redskins DL Vonnie Holliday on Twitter, "tricked, duped, led astray, hoodwinked (and) bamboozled." NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith sent the following e-mail to the board of player representatives. "Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences," stated the e-mail. "It is my understanding they are forwarding it to us. They apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal.  Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.  As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."

If the players ratify the deal: –Saturday, July 23: Players could arrive at team facilities for voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction. The free agent list will be distributed to teams. Teams can begin signing draft picks, their own free agents, and renegotiate deals for players who are under contract. Starting at 1 p.m. (Central), teams can negotiate with, but not sign, undrafted free agents and other teams' veteran free agents. — Sunday, July 24: Teams can sign undrafted free agents. — Wednesday, July 27: The league year begins, free agency begins, the salary cap goes into effect and rosters can be expanded to 90 players. Training camp can begin with the first day limited to physicals, meetings and conditioning. — July 28-29: Training camp continues but practices may not be held in pads.

Late Thursday night, the NFL Players Association executive board and 32 player representatives decided not to vote on the owner’s CBA proposal. Simply, the NFLPA felt frustrated with the “take it or leave it” CBA owner’s proposal thinking that they are being played. The entire national NFL sports scene saw great confusion, theater, and fingers being pointed to put blame on each side. QB Aaron Rodgers twittered: “Media spin on owners position in this lockout is ridiculous. Believe my colleagues tweets tonight about the events of the last 24 hours.” Friday, we shall see what happens. 

Reggie Bush’s Girlfriend is in a Lawsiut – For Looking Just Like Kim Kardashian

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 07:00 PM PDT

So Reggie Bush, the Saints RB who could be looking for work elsewhere in 2011, has a new woman in his life, and oddly enough she looks just like some chick he use to date – Kim Kardashian.

Bush and Canadian Melissa Molinaro are a couple, and from the photo you can see why people mistake her for Kardashian. Molinaro is part of the new Old Navy ads, and Kardashian is raising a fuss, suing Old Navy because she claims it features a woman (Molinaro), that looks just like her.

She seeks unspecified damages and wants to prevent Old Navy from using a lookalike in future ads. Explains a source close to the engaged reality star and mogul: "She's protecting her brand ..She can't let another brand use her image to sell clothes!"

If you’ve seen the commercial (below), frankly it sucks outside of Molinaro bouncing around in the park. I’ll say this, she does look like Kardashian, but to me the former Bush girlfriend doesn’t stand a chance to win this one in court.

2011 League Calendar, Contingent Upon Ratification of Agreement by Players

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 06:36 PM PDT


July 23: Voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction permitted until first day of clubs' preseason training camps.

July 23: Pre-2011 League Year Period commences. 2011 Free Agency List to be issued and will become effective on the first day of the 2011 League Year (July 27). Clubs/players may begin to renegotiate contracts. Clubs may begin to sign Drafted Rookies and their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players.

July 23: Waivers begin for the 2011 League Year.

July 23: Starting at 11 a.m. PT, clubs may negotiate with, but not sign, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents, free agents, and other clubs' UFAs, RFAs, and Franchise Players.

July 24: Starting at 11 a.m. PT, clubs may begin to sign undrafted rookie free agents.

July 27: 2011 League Year commences at 11 a.m. PT, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Free Agency Signing Period begins. Clubs may sign free agents and other clubs' Unrestricted Free Agents. Clubs may sign Offer Sheets. Trading period begins. All Clubs must be under the Salary Cap. Top 51 rule applies.

July 27: Expand rosters to 90-man limit.

July 27: Training Camps open for all clubs, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Day One activities limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. No pads permitted on Day Two or Day Three.


August 9: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency.

August 11-15: First Preseason Weekend

August 12: Deadline for signing of Offer Sheets by Restricted Free Agents (17-day period concludes).

August 12: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by August 26, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from August 26 until the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, at 1 p.m. PT, only with his Prior Club.

August 12: Deadline: if a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract by this date, he cannot be traded during his initial League Year and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting Club until the day of the Draft in the next League Year.

August 13-17: Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the Club's intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the Club's second preseason game.

August 16: Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents (Four-day matching period conlcudes).

August 17: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Restricted Free Agents who have received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only.

August 18-22: Second Preseason Weekend.

August 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend.

August 26: Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents who received the June 1 Tender.

August 29: Deadline for June 15 Tender to Restricted Free Agents. If player's Qualifying Offer is greater than 110% of the player's prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged), the Club may withdraw the Qualifying Offer on August 29 and retain its exclusive negotiating rights to the player, so long as the Club immediately tenders the player a one-year Player Contract of at least 110% of his prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary, with all the terms of his prior year's contract carried forward unchanged.

August 30: Clubs reduce rosters from 90 players to 75 players.


September 1-2: Fourth Preseason Weekend.

September 3: Clubs reduce rosters to 53 players.

September 8-12: First Regular-Season Weekend.

NFL Officially Calls Off the Hall of Fame Game

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 06:33 PM PDT

The NFL canceled its Hall of Fame game between St. Louis and Chicago on Thursday despite owners voting in favor of a tentative deal to end the lockout, pending player approval.

The Rams and Bears originally were scheduled to open their training camps this weekend and play in the game to open the preseason schedule on Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the game had to be dropped because the Rams and Bears wouldn't have ample time to prepare.

"The time is just too short," he said. "Unfortunately, we will not be there to play the game there this year."

Goodell added that the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will go on as planned on Aug. 6. This year's class of inductees includes Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe and Richard Dent.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame said in a statement Thursday night that it was "disappointed" by the decision, which will have "a significant adverse economic impact" on both the hall and city of Canton. The hall added that it appreciated "the effort that was made on our behalf by the league and players right up until the last minute," and that the long-term effects of a new agreement would be beneficial to all involved.

The hall said it would issue full ticket refunds for fans who already purchased seats for the game.

The Bears were supposed to open camp Friday, but team president Ted Phillips said it was going to be difficult for the team to prepare to play the game because of the delay in getting back to work.

"Because we have Richard Dent being enshrined, it's disappointing from that standpoint," Phillips said, "but probably the most fair given the circumstances of the offseason that every team starts training camp on the same day."

Owners Vote to End Lockout

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 06:30 PM PDT

NFL clubs approved today the terms of a comprehensive settlement of litigation and a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.

The vote was taken at a league meeting in Atlanta where the clubs were briefed on the terms of the agreement and the rules for the transition into the new League Year. The agreement must be ratified by the NFL Players Association in order for the league year to begin.

"We are pleased to announce that our clubs have approved the terms of a long-term negotiated agreement with the NFL players," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "It includes many positive changes that emerged from a spirit of compromise rooted in doing what is best for the game and players. DeMaurice Smith and his team, and the players and owners involved in the negotiations, deserve great credit for their skill and professionalism. If approved by the players, this agreement will allow the league and its players to continue to benefit from the NFL's popularity and will afford a unique opportunity to deliver to fans an even better, safer, and more competitive game in the future.

“On behalf of the NFL, our teams and players, I want to express our deep appreciation to Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan. Judge Boylan was the court-appointed mediator, but his contributions far exceeded that role. His patience, determination, and commitment helped keep everyone focused on the goal, and helped lead us to today’s announcement.”

The NFL announced that players can begin voluntary workouts at club facilities on July 23 if the NFLPA Executive Board approves the settlement terms. Following the reconstitution of the NFLPA as a union and approval of the new CBA by the NFLPA membership, the League Year and free agency signings will start at 2:00 PM ET on July 27 and training camps for all teams will open on July 27. Day one activities will be limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. Players will practice without pads on days two and three.

As part of the transition rules for the 2011 League Year, the parties have agreed that the CBA's specified deadlines for certain free agency contract tenders will be delayed to the dates indicated below. For example, the deadline for the CBA's "June 1 Tender" to Unrestricted Free Agents will be changed from June 1 to August 12.

Houston Won’t Go After Free Agent WR Plaxico Burress

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:40 PM PDT

One of the more interesting players that will be on the free-agent market as soon as it starts likely next week will be wide out Plaxico Burress. The former Steelers and Giants WR has stated he would like to play for the Bears, or even the Texans, a team that is on the rise and could make a huge playoff push in 2011.

As Pro Football Weekly points out though, the Texans are a team with other needs, and wide out, more so Burress, is not going to be one of them.

“When you say Houston,” Burress recently told, “all I can say is ‘Wow.’ That’s all I can say, because I give respect where respect is due. And I believe Andre Johnson is the best wide receiver in football. … The way he’s playing down in Houston, they’re getting everything going in the right direction. Matt Schaub has really taken off as an elite quarterback. I think Arian Foster is one of the top five running backs in this league. I think that team is bound for the playoffs this year and looking forward to great things.”

But would the Texans love to add Burress to their already loaded offensive arsenal?

According to one source close to the team, Burress signing with the Texans is unlikely. In addition to Johnson, who is widely regarded as the cream of the crop among NFL wideouts, head coach Gary Kubiak is quite fond of WRs Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones, a free agent whom Houston will look to re-sign.

Now if Burress gets past the first round or two of free agency, and could come without having to break the bank, then the Texans may look at him. Still, the Eagles and I feel the Rams are two other teams that will likely give him a solid deal that could add to their receiver core. As for the Texans, they will quietly look to ink their own players instead.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay Not Worried About Peyton Manning’s Long Term Health

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 03:37 PM PDT

Peyton Manning’s health isn’t a worry for Colts owner Jim Irsay. At least as of yet.

He’s just not 100 percent sure when Manning will start throwing to his teammates. The Colts’ owner told reporters Thursday in Atlanta he doesn’t expect offseason neck surgery to prevent Indianapolis’ franchise player from playing at his usually high level.

“My sense is that he’s doing well,” Irsay said at the league’s owner meetings. “We’ve been through (his neck) surgery before. So I anticipate him being ready.”

Irsay, however, believes the cornerstone of his franchise will not only be ready for another big season but will live up to the title of highest-paid player in league history. Tom Brady currently holds the crown after signing a four-year deal worth $72 million, a record average of $18 million annually, in September.

Irsay has said he’s already made an offer to top Brady’s and he expects a five- or six-year deal to be completed shortly after players and owners ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. The lockout prevented Condon and the Colts from negotiating during the work stoppage, and the Colts have put the franchise tag on Manning, a move that could cost Irsay about $23 million if Manning signs the tender.

Agent for Patriots Guard Mankins Says He Never Made Money Demands

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:53 PM PDT

Frank Bauer, the agent for Patriots guard Logan Mankins, who is one of the named plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust suit against the NFL, responded Thursday to reports that Mankins had demanded special considerations as part of a settlement.

“I think it’s realy unfair what has happened to Logan Mankins in media characterizations that he is making monetary demands or holding up a settlement,” Bauer told Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

“Logan Mankins is a young man who was encouraged and solicited into a lawsuit to help the union spearhead a new agreement. Logan’s main concern for entering into as a plaintiff was to see if he can become free and help other players have less restrictions. For people to say he has made monetary demands, he hasn’t made any such demand. We don’t know terms. We haven’t talked to (NFLPA attorney) Jeff Kessler. There has been no communication, but it’s irresponsible to report Logan has made monetary demands.

“Are we disappointed there has been no communication? Hugely. He trusted the union and Kessler to fight for Logan Mankins and the other players.”

Jets vs. Redskins For Santonio Holmes In the Most Heated Bidding War of Free Agency

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:20 PM PDT

With the owners voting today, we could be days away from free agency.

I still believe Asomugha and Ray Edwards will be the ones who will end up with the fattest wallets, but Santonio Holmes won’t be too far behind.

It’s time to go bold. Let’s take a look at this offense.

First of all, the Skins go two deep at tight end with Chris Cooley and Fred Davis.

Secondly, they got a steal in dominant wideout Leonard Hankerson – who trained for two years under one of the best receivers of the 80′s, Mark Duper.

Malcolm Kelly is finally healthy and ready to be the big target. He’s shed 10-15 lbs., hitting a level of explosiveness he has never reached.

Anthony Armstrong will be the deep threat/clear-out receiver, similar to what Eddie Royal was for Shanahan in Denver. He shocked a lot of people with his 44 catches, 871 yards, a beefy 19.8 average and 3 TDs as an undrafted free agent rookie last season.

With Rex back in the fold and Santonio Holmes signed, the Washington Redskins might be my Super Bowl pick for the NFC (to be defeated by Baltimore, of course) and they actually beat a hobbling version of my current pick – the Packers – in overtime last season.

Grossman to Hankerson is Gator to Hurricane, with a Seminole – Graham Gano – attempting the extra point. That can’t be any wackier than the scorn of Washington fans – Shanahan and Snyder – turning it around just one season after the Haynesworth and McNabb disasters.

Bears Urlacher Says Hall of Fame Game a No-Go Even If Lockout Settled Thursday

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:04 PM PDT

Brian Urlacher, the Bears heart and soul on defense, thinks that the Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams set for August 7th in Canton, OH will not be played – even if the NFLPA and the owners get the lockout situation done sometime on Thursday.

“I think the Hall of Fame Game is a no-go even if we get it done today,” Urlacher told ESPN’s George Smith, referring to the NFLPA possibly approving a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday. A Bears official told ESPN that the team is still planning to play the game against the St. Louis Rams but “everything is so fluid” it’s just not clear what will happen yet. The official said it’s not up to the team whether to play. The league decides, and that the Bears are just doing their best to prepare, but Urlacher doesn’t understand how everything can get done before that date. “We still have to have time for free agency and all that stuff,” he said. The Bears are scheduled to open training camp Friday, if the league and players can agree to a new deal.

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