Friday was a day without much action, although it was nice that NFL Network's extended coverage of the (cough) "breaking news" yesterday afternoon did include a phone interview with Judy Battista of The New York Times (to whose content I frequently link on my weekend Fleur-de-Links), so I finally got to see what she looks like (and she's not the Mrs. Frumplesworth I had always pictured, she's actually much younger).
Make the jump to get caught up with the latest on the NFL and Saints-related Lockout news...
Much to our chagrin it looks like the players are going to take some time to study the deal that the owners approved on Thursday.
Go here to view a pdf of ESPN's 2011 Deal Summary of Main Terms. Caution: it's formatted sideways, and looks like a set of very no-frills PowerPoint slides.
To be honest, this doesn't concern me all that much. It would be nice if this could have happened more quickly and in a more "along the way" fashion as the negotiations progressed, but maybe doing that would have dragged out the negotiation process even more, making it unwieldy (opinion alert!!). There are over 1900 people that need to know what they're voting on and then vote on it, which is going to require them to recertify as a union and also end the antitrust suit(s).
And if I may continue to be honest (which is kind of silly to say...I don't usually lie to anyone here on CSC), I believe the players don't mind it at all if they miss a week of preseason and/or have to move the annual London game back stateside (I believe these are two of the next deadline items on the NFL schedule that may have to drop if the deal's not done soon).
ESPN.com received somewhat conflicting reports about how the players are moving forward in this article updated at 8:33 EST Saturday, which includes a slew o' related videos:
Though an email was sent to NFL players Friday afternoon instructing them that player representatives planned to meet Monday to further discuss the owners' proposed labor agreement, NFLPA leadership sources told ESPN that a meeting is not scheduled and their plan is to continue to work through the weekend.
Apparently, Chris Mortensen knows a guy:
Players association leaders have been reviewing what they are calling the "finishing details" of the agreement the NFL owners approved Thursday, and they plan to communicate with the NFLPA executive board and player reps either Friday night or Saturday, a high-ranking NFLPA source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.
If they feel they have resolved the remaining issues toward a settlement, it is possible a vote could be taken this weekend -- but there was no certainty on such action. A vote will not be taken Friday and there is an expectation that the back-and-forth discussions among the NFLPA and with lawyers for both sides could continue through the weekend, the source said.
What we do know is this: much study, explanation and communication about the deal will go on until the players actually vote, and then we'll see at that point what kind of "2011 NFL start-up calendar" we have to work with.
Many NFL team officials spent yesterday at NFL meetings in Atlanta, getting briefed on the proposed new league rules and calendar.
Most of the rules regarding free agency and the salary cap have been agreed upon, and all 32 front offices were informed of the likely new guidelines at a league labor seminar in Atlanta on Friday. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis, football administration director Khai Harley, pro scouting director Ryan Pace and executive vice presidents Rita Benson LeBlanc and Dennis Lauscha were in attendance, according to Saints spokesman Greg Bensel.
So, it seems that as the players are doing their due diligence, the teams are as well, so that once the deal is approved, we can get on with the business of football (Dave posted a tweet to this effect yesterday from Bensel, too)...
Bensel said Loomis and his staff will share details with Coach Sean Payton and the coaching staff Saturday. Bensel said the organization is also preparing for the start of training camp and the preseason on short notice. He said tickets have been shipped out, media credentials have been prepared and all of the stands and signage for the practice fields have been ordered.
Go after 'em, Pay-Loo!!! I bet our guys (and gals) will be more than ready to hit the ground running once the starter's pistol is fired on the 2011 season. I mean, we've got practice field signage already ordered, for Pete's sake!
It's sad that we're not actually seeing team facilities open up to players right now, but I think that day will happen soon. Patience, young grasshopper.
And when you get stressed, just try to answer this question, and all else will fade into the background...When clapping the hands, a sound is heard. What is the sound of one hand?
And don't forget to come back later this afternoon for your frozen, then deep-fried, serving of Fleur-De-Links! (yes, it's getting to be State Fair junk food time again - and our country will eat itself to death)