SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/Labor and Agents

QB: ‘I fully expected to get a deal’

Q&A With … Matt Hasselbeck, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the past season, was one of about 100 elected NFL team representatives who gathered at a resort in Marco Island, Fla., starting March 17 for the NFL Players Association’s annual meeting.

Team player representatives, now known as directors of the players board, were briefed by members of the association’s executive committee who attended the federal mediation sessions in Washington, D.C. Hasselbeck sat down with staff writer Liz Mullen to talk about what he learned at the meeting.

What did happen in the CBA talks? What is the bottom line?
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HASSELBECK: We tried our very hardest to get a deal done. You can’t get a deal done if there is no one there to get a deal done with. I can’t buy a car if the guy who can sell me the car isn’t at the dealership.

Where were you on the last day of the mediated settlement talks? Did you think there was a chance of an extension, or were you resigned that the NFLPA was going to decertify and the NFL was going to lock out?

HASSELBECK: No, no. I fully expected to get a deal. I called into that last conference call. I was at a charity event in California and stopped everything to get on this conference call.

What was the mood on the conference call?

HASSELBECK: There was a little bit of anger and frustration, like, “Why don’t we have a deal?” The players that were there [at the mediation] … were like, “Guys, they won’t open their books.” All we have asked for is, Show us financials.

Was that the big issue on the conference call that day?

HASSELBECK: My takeaway from the call was, “If you need another extension, we need the financials,” and that is what we essentially voted on. We said, “Listen, if they basically blow us off again … we are wasting our time. They are messing with us. We have been asking for two years. Another 24 hours isn’t going to change anything.”

Why were you hopeful?

HASSELBECK: I was hopeful that we would come to an agreement, either to extend or maybe the owners show up and you get like a John Mara [New York Giants] or a Rooney [Pittsburgh Steelers] or ... someone who can help get a deal done. And they are like, “Guys, we got a good thing going here. Let’s work it out,” and they work it out.

Some of the players have expressed anger at the letter Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to all players explaining what the league offered to players and urging your “union” to start up negotiations. How do players feel about that?

HASSELBECK: Are the guys angry about that? Oh, I mean, the guys that were in D.C. thought that letter was the biggest joke. The guys that were there … And you know, I know Roger; he’s a good guy. I like Roger; he’s a good person. But you hear his side of the story and you are like … ? (shrugs)


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