SBD/March 23, 2011/Franchises

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 12: Bills Coaches Preparing As If There Were No Lockout

Bills coaches continue to prepare for upcoming season despite pay cuts
The NFL "may be at a standstill because of the labor dispute, but there is no work stoppage" on the Bills coaching staff, according to Allen Wilson of the BUFFALO NEWS. They are "still doing the same job as if there wasn't a lockout." The Bills are among "at least a dozen teams that are cutting coaches' pay," though that money "will be reimbursed if no regular-season games are lost." With a "smaller paycheck and no idea if they'll have anything to do this season, it would be understandable if coaches weren't in the best mood," but Bills coach Chan Gailey said that there are "no morale problems with his assistants because they have known what was coming for some time." Gailey: "I'm going to give our organization a great deal of credit for not keeping anyone in the dark about what's happening" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/23).

KEEP PLUGGING AWAY: Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris yesterday discussed the impact of the lockout on his team's preparations, saying, "The obvious downfall, when you're talking about the state of the league right now, is that you're not able to see your players as much as you did last year. It really hasn't affected us so far. Right now, we're just missing the guys being in there to lift. So we'll see. We're just concentrating on the draft and bringing in more people who can help us win" (TAMPABAY.com, 3/22).

BUSINESS AS USUAL: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday "seemed surprised that anyone would find it strange that 31 of 32 teams ... are demanding payment from season ticket-holders even though the league is currently in a lockout that may stretch for months." Goodell: "Very simple -- we're getting prepared to play for the 2011 season. We've identified policies for refunds if that is necessary" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/23). In Denver, Mike Klis reports the Broncos have asked season-ticket holders "for half payment on 2011 seats," and the "other half will come due later in the spring" (DENVER POST, 3/23).

READ AND REACT: Rams RB Steven Jackson yesterday honored St. Louis-area students as part of the Reading with the Rams contest. His appearance "on behalf of a team-sponsored program seems to rub against the grain of the labor strife between the NFL and its players," but Jackson said that he "wanted to appear because he had committed to the program months ago." Rams Dir of Community Outreach Michael Yarbrough said that the team "received special permission from the NFL to go through with the event" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/23).

NOTES: The Texans have launched a "Your Story, Your Glory" contest. Fans can visit the team's website to "submit your 'favorite game day rituals, routines or memories' from Texans games for a chance to be shown on the 2011 season tickets" (CHRON.com, 3/22)....Bears Chair Michael McCaskey "addressed owners, coaches and executives" yesterday at the NFL annual meetings with a "powerful four-minute speech." McCaskey "recounted how his grandfather George Halas founded pro football and shaped what has become the most popular sport in the United States." Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder described the speech as "beautiful" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/23).
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