SBD/March 20, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFLPA Elects Eric Winston President, Names New Members For Exec Committee

Winston said the possibility of playing 18 games is dead in the water
The NFLPA yesterday elected free agent OT Eric Winston as its new President. Winston succeeds the outgoing Domonique Foxworth, who was unanimously elected to the post in '12. The union also named seven new members to its Exec Committee: Cardinals LB Lorenzo Alexander, free agent S Ryan Clark, Giants LS Zak DeOssie, Cardinals K Jay Feely, Giants LB Mark Herzlich, Colts K Adam Vinatieri and Rams C Scott Wells. Player reps re-elected Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck, free agent G Brian Waters and Saints TE Ben Watson to the committee (NFLPA). In Baton Rouge, Ramon Antonio Vargas notes Saints QB Drew Brees and former NFLer Scott Fujita had been members of the Exec Committee, but the NFLPA said that they "won’t be returning." Brees had "indicated he would not get back on the committee in part to have more time with his family; and Fujita, like Foxworth, was retired" when the '13 season began (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 3/20). USA Today's Jarrett Bell cited a source as saying that Brees "may just be a bit burned out by all of the union activities." Bell: "He still wants to support the union, obviously" ("NFL Insiders," ESPN, 3/19).

LAYING OUT THEIR PLAN: Both Winston and Watson talked to various media outlets after the vote. Winston said, "I felt like it was time to kind of move away from the CBA negotiations and get to not just maximizing the deal for all the players, but also trying to reform some of the things we do and not getting stuck in the status quo. ... Whether it's been health and safety ... to a wide variety of issues." Winston said of possibly expanding the regular-season schedule, "A lot of that's theory. I can tell you 16 to 18's dead in the water. I won't let it happen. I don't think any of these other guys are going to let it happen. It's a safety issue" (USA TODAY, 3/20). Watson said, "It's an exciting time for the union, anytime there's turnover and change that's exciting. There are lot of young reps on the (executive committee) and it's a time to educate them and look for the future. Eric has our full support and he follows in a long line of leadership for this union. We're excited about what the future holds, the salary cap, the CBA, all the things that are good about this deal. Right now, it's about exercising all the rights we got in the CBA, developing in the offseason, becoming strong men, husbands, fathers." Asked if there would be any adjustments to the CBA, Watson said, "There's nothing pressing. Again, when you have new leadership, you have new ideas. We have [NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith], who did a fabulous job crafting the new CBA and we'll discuss what we'll do moving forward. But right now, there's nothing pressing to act on but that's subject to change whenever we so desire" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/20).
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