NFL Lockout Watch, Day 17: Uncertainty Hampering Player Workouts
Browns LB and NFLPA Exec Committee member Scott Fujita "expects his teammates to hold organized workouts on their own" during the ongoing lockout, according to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Fujita said, "We just have to be mindful that we have to be careful. There's so many issues with workman's compensation and everything else. I know some guys by position group have already been meeting up a bit, having some workouts and stuff. Again, once we have a clear picture of what's ahead, I would expect guys do start getting together." He added, "I'd like to think we can get (players) back in the building and working in time for the season. That's our top priority. But it is going to come down to who's losing (the most) money." Fujita "does not know when things will begin to resemble normalcy." He said it "could be the next week" after the April 6 hearing on the NFLPA's antitrust case against the league, but he added, "It could be five months from now. It could be a year from now. We really don't know" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/27).
WORKING THINGS OUT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly reports some Dolphins players are "organizing a player-run offseason program that's set to begin" today at Nova Southeastern Univ.'s "weight room and athletic fields." Sources said that Dolphins OT Jake Long is "coordinating the weightlifting and workout sessions with the help of" QB Chad Henne. But with "many players living outside South Florida in the offseason and planning to train on their own until the lockout ends, the level of participation isn't expected to be high." Many agents for Dolphins players have "advised their clients not to participate in player-only workouts" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/28). Chiefs S Jon McGraw and C Rudy Niswanger said that they are "planning to organize some team conditioning sessions in Kansas City." Niswanger: "As far as guys getting together -- working out, running -- I think that's a great thing guys should do." But he added, "The only issue is: If guys get together and start throwing and running routes and doing some practice-type drills, we just have to be careful about that. ... If a bunch of guys get together and hurt themselves, they're done. The team has no responsibility. The team can release the player and not pay him anything" (K.C. STAR, 3/27).
GETTING TOGETHER: In Chicago, Vaughn McClure reported free agent WR Rashied Davis "intends to help organize" QBs and WRs for workouts "within the next few weeks as the NFL owners' lockout is keeping players from Halas Hall." Davis is "interested in" the AFL Chicago Rush's "main practice facility inside Allstate Arena." Rush officials said that they "would be open to the idea," and McClure noted "getting approval from Allstate Arena management shouldn't be an insurmountable problem" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/25). In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted Panthers players "who live in Charlotte year-round are popping up at gyms around the city." Panthers FB Tony Fiammetta: "We have that great support staff when we're at the stadium. But right now it's just us." Fiammetta "spends about $500 a month for the services" of former Panthers speed and conditioning consultant Jeremy Boone "and a local chiropractor" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/27).