Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:46
NFLPA Spokesperson Says Brees Wrong About Agreement
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At least one NFLPA spokesperson is annoyed with Drew Brees' brazen comment that the owners and players were close in reaching an agreement on the ongoing lockout.

"Are we close? I wouldn't say that at all," one NFLPA executive committee member told Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports. "Drew is the eternal optmist, and yeah, it's closer than it was a week ago. Could it happen quickly? Yes. But I'd be extremely surprised."

Another NFLPA source tried to throw cold water on all the optimisim: "Don't read too much into that. We're not there yet, and there are still a lot of issues in play."

This message from the players appears to be: we won't agree to the hanging deal points just because we're approaching the finish line. Silver's sources insist that other issues besides the rookie wage scale need to be worked out including where the "legacy fund" for retired players will come from, in addition to health care and player safety concerns.

Reports are that owners and players are working in New York to put "finishing touches" a labor deal and that an agreement in principal was possible in coming days.

An agreement must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 owners, and separately by the players. At this point, the only game that appears to be in serious danger is the Hall of Fame exhibition on Aug. 7.

The inability to reach a deal to end the lockout has resulted in the Texans and the Saints calling off an annual joint practice.

The teams have practiced together in August each of the last three years and planned three days of practice this year, prior to their preseason game on Aug. 20. But Texas coach Gary Kubiak and Sean Payton agreed that the uncertainty surrounding the training camp and preseason schedule makes it better to call it off.

"Sean and I really wanted to do it, but we've got so much to make up, we thought it would be better not to do it this year and pick it back up next year," said Kubiak. "It's a mutual decision."

According to the AP, “The Division II Football Hall of Fame will induct former Saints and Mississippi College running back Fred McAfee and Larry Allen and Coach Bill Burgess as the Class of 2011 on Dec 16 at a banquet on Dec. 16

McAfee was an All-American running back at Mississippi College where he rushed for 4,416 yards and scored 38 touchdowns for the Choctaws from 1987-90. In his fifth year as director of player development for the Saints, McAfee played 16 seasons for the Saints, Cardinals, Steelers and Bucs from 1991-2006.

He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2002 and played with the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. He is the only player in Saints franchise history to be on the roster for three (1991, 2000, 2006) of the team's division titles. “

Allen was an All-Pro offensive lineman for the Cowboys and Burgess was head coach at Jacksonville State from 1985-96.

The inductions and banquet will be held at Florence, Ala.

SOME hither, others yon: According to Forbes, which is out with its latest list of the most valuable franchises in sports, the Saints rank 28th with a franchise value of $955 million. Who says NFL owners aren't doing well? The Cowboys are the second most valuable franchise in sports at $1.81 billion. No. 1 on the list is English soccer team Manchester United, which is worth $1.86 billion. The soccer franchise is owned by the Glazer family that owns the NFL Bucs. Forbes ranks the Yankees third at $1.7 billion, the Redskins fourth at $1.55 billion, Spanish soccer team Real Madrid at $1.45 billion and the Patriots sixth at $1.37 billion. Over-all, eight of the 12 most valuable sports franchises in the world are NFL teams. We'd urge NFL owners to consider how much value their franchises will lose if they alienate their fans by failing to end the lockout soon...Knuckleballs are like third marriages: you never know where they're going...

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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