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Volume 26 No. 181
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"Ballers" Dives Into Expanded Schedule, Player Healthcare Issues

This season of "BALLERS" on HBO has made several references to a potential 18-game NFL regular season, and last night's episode saw owners vote on approving the idea ahead of CBA negotiations. The fictional owner of the Cowboys is trying to persuade new Chiefs Owner Spencer Strasmore, played by DWAYNE JOHNSON, to vote in favor of the expanded schedule. He is open to it, but in turn wants to also give former players better healthcare. At the owners' meeting, potential pushback from the NFLPA is discussed but Strasmore ultimately casts the deciding vote in favor of advocating for the 18-game schedule. He then notes the NFL lags behind other leagues when it comes to healthcare for former players and says, "Our game is much more violent and much more debilitating. … There's no reason why any of our NFL veterans should ever go broke or die lonely trying to pay medical bills. We're the gold standard. We should act like it." Despite his message, the owners postpone the vote on healthcare.

DO YOUR JOB? Fictional Rams GM Charles Greane, played by OMAR BENSON MILLER, begins to admit the stress of his job is impacting his health. He laments to an assistant about pressure from ownership and even references the new L.A. stadium, which he complains is "$3 billion over budget." Greane is told by a doctor he has had two mild heart attacks and is advised to take a few months off work. He is then told Saints RB ALVIN KAMARA, who Greane recruited last episode, has fired his agent and is willing to join the team via trade.

EXECUTIVE SPEAK: Agency SportsX CEO Joe Krutel, played by ROB CORDDRY, goes on a fictional player's radio show to talk about the potential 18-game schedule and also discusses the ongoing extension talks for PATRICK MAHOMES, saying the new deal will be the biggest in league history. Meanwhile, Krutel also greenlights his agency starting an esports team, allowing $2M to be spent to get the project off the ground. Fictional Cowboys DT Vernon Littlefield, played by DONOVAN CARTER, has been pursuing an esports career this season.

WHAT A CATCH: Browns WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. makes his third cameo of the season, dropping by the SportsX office for a progress report on the sports and entertainment campus they are building and making him the face of.