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SBD/Issue 132/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NFLPA Amends "Junior Rule," Allows Earlier Talks With Prospects
Published March 27, 2009
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: YAHOO SPORTS' Jason Cole wrote as the NFL CBA negotiations draw near, two of the league's "greatest proponents of peace" -- Steelers Chair Dan Rooney and Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson -- "may no longer be part of the process." Rooney was nominated by President Obama to serve as Ambassador to Ireland, and he is expected to hand control of the Steelers to President Art Rooney II. Meanwhile, Richardson was unable to attend this week's NFL owners meetings while recovering from heart transplant surgery. For the NFL, "finding people to replace the leadership of Rooney and Richardson is critical," as the two were "able to pull together differing factions" among ownership. Rooney has the "confidence of the old-guard owners, who have often reacted poorly to the aggressive style of new-guard owners." On the other side, Richardson has the "faith of the new-guard owners while at the same time having the respect of the old guard because he played" in the NFL in the '50s. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones: "There's no question that both of them put the league ahead of their own interests of their franchises." Cole noted not having Rooney and Richardson as "consensus builders could make upcoming negotiations difficult" for the league (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/26).
DE-DAY: ESPN's Stephen A. Smith writes the NFLPA's election of DeMaurice Smith as its new Exec Dir means that "maybe, just maybe, the guys who go out on the field ... will finally have their say instead of being relegated to marching in lockstep with the league, performing the same moves as management, except backward and in cleats." Former NFLPA President Troy Vincent, a finalist in the NFLPA election, noted that during the voting there were player reps "from every team in the room, listening to all the presentations, doing all their homework." He added that he is "pretty sure they chose the guy who is the best man for the job." Vincent said, "I have absolutely no problem with Smith as the choice. And I wanted the job" (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 4/6 issue).