NFLPA Playing Major Role In New Orleans Saints future with Brees arbitration, Bounty hearing
Written by  // Wednesday, 30 May 2012 08:11 //

Brees-panthersThe NFLPA might just be the salvation or the curse for the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees.

Today, the players association is contending in a hearing that Roger Goodell does not have authority to suspend certain New Orleans Saints players.


According to NOLA.com, “the NFLPA contends the matter should be dealt with by the System Administrator of the collective bargaining agreement - in this case one Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The union believes this is so because the so-called bounty system the league says Saints defenders participated in from 2009 to 2011 falls outside the 'conduct detrimental to the game' clause Goodell employed in his decision. Under Goodell's reading, the commissioner is the sole judge and jury; the union's position is it should be Burbank .”

According to reports from ESPN, Drew Brees filed an arbitration request yesterday with the NFLPA in relationship to his onging contract dispute with the New Orleans Saints.

The NFLPA has reportedly hired an arbitrator to determine whether Drew Brees has been franchise-tagged for the second time.

The Chargers originally placed the franchise tag on Brees when his rookie contract expired in 2004. Brees currently is set to make $16.371 million as the Saints' franchise player.

If the arbitrator rules that Brees has been tagged twice, he would be eligible for a 144 percent raise if the Saints apply the tag for the third time in 2013.

Under that scenario, Brees would collect roughly $40 million for the next two seasons.

It is possible that the NFLPA could be both a savior and villain for the Saints. The front office is rooting for a favorable outcome for the suspended players, but could be wringing its hands over the decision on Brees' franchise tag status.

Randall Gay reacts to Junior Seau's death

Junior Seau's death frightened Randall Gay. He didn't know his former Patriots teammate was fighting enough demons to commit suicide.

Gay, who turns 30 this month, has been dealing with post-concussion syndrome that forced him to retire after seven seasons in the NFL. The former LSU cornerback spent four years with the Patriots and three with the Saints before it was all too much to deal with.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald caught up with Gay and got his thoughts about concussions from football.

Gay laughed when the writer asked Gay how many concussions he's suffered, saying, "I don't know. A million."

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert says he had at least 10 concussions and played when he didn't recall playing.

There are times when Gay finds himself walking around the house for no reason at all. It takes a moment for him to snap out of that daze, but he collects himself; he understands why it's happened yet again.

Gay's career started to take off in 2007, and in 2008 turned that into a four-year, $17.6 million deal with the Saints.

But Gay began missing games because of a concussion and was placed on injured reserve after he suffered his most severe concussion. The Saints immediately released him after the lockout in 2011, and Gay knew his career had come to an end.

Gay wishes he could still play, but he knows he can't. "I wish I could play, but I'm still having symptoms from concussions," said Gay. "I wanted to try again, but I really can't do anything. Hard physical activities, I get headaches and nauseous and dizzy and stuff. I'd still like a chance in the NFL, but it's not worth it."

With the league and players now becoming more aware of the lingering effects of concussions, Gay had better knowledge of the health risks, and he looked toward other retired players who have diminished quality of life because of head injuries.

"It's scary because you don't know enough about it," said Gay. "When you play football, it's the effect that everybody just wants to deal with it. All right, my ankle hurts. I can deal with it. My arm hurts, but I can deal with it. It's not hurting enough where I can't play. Then, you've got the headaches, the concussion thing. I've got a headache, but I can deal with it. That's the mindset that you go through your whole life with.

"But then it gets to the point where you don't know enough about head injuries to just say I can deal with it. You might be able to deal with it today, but you don't know what tomorrow holds. That's the scary thing about it. That's the decision you don't want to make."

Gay said he loves football and believes he can deal with the headaches or just being nauseous and a little dizzy. He said he can deal with that, but he doesn't know what it's going to bring later.

Gay was particularly frightened when he heard about Seau. Gay said he had no idea Seau was fighting with some internal demons, but he could relate to that struggle. That's what worries Gay more than anything.

Gay knows what Seau was feeling because on some days he just walks around, and doesn't know what he's walking for.

Gay said that's depressing, but the Junior news hurt him a lot.

A lot.

Trivia Time

Which two continents have never hosted the summer Olympics?...Popularity contests don't generate touchdowns, but the early reception for rookie QB Robert Griffin III suggests the Redskins might have something special on their hands, at least from a marketing perspective. RG3 owns the league's top-selling jersey in May, beating out Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow...Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune has come up with a list of the 11 best all-time short QBs: 1) Fran Tarkenton, 6-0; 2) Sonny Jurgensen, 5-11: 3) Drew Brees 6-0: 4) Len Dawson, 6-0: 5) Joe Theisman, 6-0: 6) Michael Vick, 6-0: 7) Eddie LeBaron, 5-7: 8) Billy Kilmer, 6-0: 9) Doug Flutie, 5-10; 10) Pat Haden, 5-11; 11) Bob Berry, 5-11...

Unless Jonathan Vilma truly was a ringleader in the Saints' bounty program, and not just a stooge who was doing what he was told, he should not been suspended for a year, and he has a case against the NFL in court. The league clearly believes it has something we have not yet seen...Trivia answer: Africa and South America...Parting thought; "Has anybody seen my CAPS LOCK key?"... 

 by Ed Staton and Drew Walker


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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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