I had the good fortune of attending 106.7 THE FAN's fan party last night, which was held at the NFLPA's headquarters in DC. Demaurice Smith, George Atallah, the Junkies, BMitch, several other retired players, and 100 fans were in attendance. DeMaurice spoke for about 5 minutes and answered a few of the fans' questions at the end.
What is the likelihood of an 18-game season this year?
The NFLPA President spoke very eloquently how Brian Dawkins, one of the best free safeties of all time, gingerly walked up steps in a meeting with him...and that was at week 8. The damage on the players' body is real and consistent around the league.
In a more clear cut explanation, Smith said 25% of the players from the previous year are out of the NFL - a staggering number. The real issue is that each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care. So, a lot of these guys don't end up with health insurance because they did not play 3 years before getting hurt. Adding another 6 games to that 3-year span Smith is very WARY of. Neither the money nor the health care is there for the players to play 18-games, and Smith said the fans are overwhelmingly against it anyway. Here here.
I asked if there's any chance the NFL can extend the current agreement another year while they figure this out. The NFLPA said, "We've tried that 5 times and they're rejected it all five times. They'd rather lock us out than do that."