After meeting with DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA took us over to Capital Hill where we got a chance to talk to several players and get their take on everything. First up is Domonique Foxworth, who was drafted by Shanahan in 2005, had a brief stint in Atlanta, and is now with the Ravens. He highlighted an important part of a potential lockout is how much these cities depend on sports. It's not just the players that get locked out - it's also the workers that depend on those jobs and in some cases it's an entire city. He said the owners are very divided on the subject stating, "There's a side that wants to play football and a side that wants to make the most money possible."
Regarding rookie salaries:
"I don't support the rookie wage scale. It should be paid by potential. If a team believes their potential is so high, then that's what they should get paid. If a guy has a Pro Bowl season and you get hurt at the end of the season, they're not going to say, 'Well, you played for us last year, let's go ahead and kick some back you.' It just doesn't work that way."
I then asked, "Wouldn't you want to see more money go to the guys that have been doing that grind versus a rookie getting a $50 million paycheck? At least knock that down to like $20 mil?"
We had a meeting with the NFL about that. They voiced their concerns and wanted more money to go to those veterans. We said we'd agree to it if you can guarantee all that money would go to the veteran players. And they said, "We're not willing to make that guarantee." The rookie wage scale in all honesty is something they're using...smoke and mirrors.
(It does sort of make sense. The lifespan of a NFL player is much shorter than that of a NBA player...why not get as much cash upfront?) So I asked next, "You don't think the NBA wage scale works?"
It works, but they have the Larry Bird exemption. So those players turn out to be tremendous players but they're up for free agency a lot sooner and there's no path for the player. We all saw it with Lebron. I'm not speaking as a rep for the NFLPA, only what I think. I think players should be paid on potential. The onus falls on the General Managers and the player personnel staff to make the right decisions. In most cases they get steals.
Look at what Jamarcus did though?
There's always a bad apple. Look at how many late round guys pan out, though. The young guys have basically been working for free in college.
On the negotiations and seeing the Packers financials:
Right now they're not offering a good deal. They're offering a bad deal then following it up with saying "you can't see our books." It's unfair. There's no other companies that expect one group to negotiate with the other group when one can see all your cards but the other can't. It's ridiculous and unfair.
Real Sports Special..like a year ago, Robert Kraft said "We're the ones taking on all the risk." That drives me up the wall. 70% of our players aren't getting that homerun deal. We're taking real risks. I was on the field when Kevin Everett got paralyzed. And the thing with Chris Henry...he had never been diagnosed with a concussion, but his brain is all beat up. That's the stuff we have to deal with everyday. I just got married with a kid coming soon. What am I going to do? I made this decision. I could walk away. I'm just asking for respect. Don't tell me I'm not talking any risk. Robert Kraft is worth near a billion dollars and I doubt he's had hip or back surgeries. And Wes Welker...he'll be limping the rest of his life. Tom Brady. How can he look those guys in the eyes that brought him all those rings and say he's the only one taking risks? It's infuriating.
[When I was in Denver], we were not a mistake-prone group. Everyone in the NFL is tough. Some coaches thing about "we're going to work the ** out of you." If you're here your tough. He's a respect guy. He's going to treat you with respect. He's one of the few coaches that doesn't treat his players like kids. When we were in Denver, he let us stay home. He trusted us to be there on time and do things needed to be successful. He's not in the old-school sense where we're going to beat you in the ground which will make you a better player. Because it's not.
Ken then asked his take on if Haynesworth's actions of taking the check then asking to be traded affects the negotiations.
Wow...he really did that? (pause). Man, that question is riddled with traps. No comment (laughing).