Category Archives: NFL Lockout

26

July

The NFL Lockout is Finally Over: What Roger Goodell was Really Thinking

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to be feeling good about his sport as the NFL lockout ends.

Roger Goodell was asked today if there were any damages from the NFL lockout that need to be repaired. He said:

“Well, I would say from the Commissioner’s perspective, we know what we did to frustrate our fans over the last several months. They want football and our job is to give them football. We think that through a 10-year agreement here, we’ve secured the future of the game to ensure that pledge to bring great football to our fans. I think we have some work to do though to make sure they understand that we are sorry for the frustration we put them through over the last six months, but our commitment is to bring them better football going forward. I think we ought to make sure that we understand that our bond with our fans is probably the primary issue that all of us have to keep focused on, whether you’re a player, or you’re an owner or you’re the Commissioner.”

While Goodell was giving this beautifully crafted and politically correct answer, here’s what he was really thinking:

“Hell no there aren’t any damages! Are you freakin’ kidding me?! We’re the NFL, not the NBA, MLB or NHL. Twitter literally melted into a pile of social networking goo once the lockout ended? ESPN basically threw a party live on the air. The NFL Network is covering this news conference like someone just brokered a peace deal in the Middle East. Fans are more excited for the upcoming football season than for any other season in our league’s history.

And do you know why? Because this lockout forced everyone to skip the boring parts of the offseason. How great is it that we didn’t have to endure a summer of free-agent speculation or BS stories from minicamps about how this player or that player looks really good running around in shorts and a tank top? Wasn’t it nice not having to read about how Albert Haynesworth or some other criminal in shoulder pads appears “focused” this year and wants to “put the past behind him?” We even managed to keep Brett Favre quiet until I gave him the go-ahead to start his unretirement rumors on Saturday night.

25

July

With Unanimous NFLPA Vote, The NFL Lockout Is Over

 

That wasn’t so bad now was it?

Yes folks, it is finally over.  With the player reps for the soon-to-be-again NFL Players Association unanimously approving a new CBA with slight modifications from the version the owner also unanimously approved recently, the NFL lockout is over and football is back.

Let me repeat: FOOTBALL. IS. BACK.

There are still some issues like the players actually reforming their union, but those matters will be resolved as players report to camp.  There were a few casualties on the calendar such as delayed free agency, no organized team activities (OTAs) and no Hall of Fame game but going forward the NFL schedule remains largely intact with free agency scheduled to take place as training camps open.

Players must also ratify the new CBA but there is little no doubt that they will overwhelmingly.    Once that happens, players can once again start being paid.

What remains to be determined is any long term damage to the game.  Fans will return and cheer for their teams as they have since the league was created.  The damage to the legacy of Commissioner Roger Goodell remains to be seen.  He never lost any regular season games, but he still presided over the league’s first work stoppage in over 20 years.

There will be debates over who were the big winners and losers of this new deal and the debacle that preceded it.  Now is not the time for that, however.

Today is a day for celebration, joy and a big sigh of relief. Football is back.

Get ready fans.  Free agency and training camp will be occurring at the same time.

You think the process to end the lockout was chaotic? You haven’t seen anything yet.   At least this part will be fun to watch.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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22

July

NFL Lockout Update: Owners Ratify Proposal, Players Wonder What Just Happened

It’s 11 p.m. central time on Thursday night and I’m going to watch some Japanese wrestling and go to bed. Before doing that, however, I thought I would provide a quick summary on the NFL labor front for those of you that were smarter than me and chose to not pay attention to the kerfuffle that developed Thursday evening.

If you’re reading this in the morning, there’s a decent chance something else could have occurred overnight. You probably should check out Profootballtalk.com or follow Aaron Nagler on Twitter for the latest. Both of those guys will likely spend the night monitoring the situation instead of watching Japanese wrestling.

Here’s what went down:

  • The owners voted 31-0 to approve a 10-year labor deal and gave the players until Tuesday to reform as a union and accept it. The Oakland Raiders abstained from voting because they probably realize they will go 6-10 and could care less if there is a season or not.
  • The players said they never had a chance to review the proposal and accused the owners of trying to force a deal. Many people were expecting the players to vote on some sort of proposal Thursday, but they didn’t because the players claimed to not know for sure what exactly the owner’s passed.
  • ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported around 10:45 p.m. that the players eventually received all the details of the owners proposal and a vote could come as early as Friday. Will a vote actually happen? Who knows.
  • My take: I think one of two things happened. 1) The owner’s got sick of the player’s dilly dallying around about re-certifying as a union and other less-significant issues delaying the process and decided to approve a proposal and force the players to act in a more timely fashion. 2) The owners made a last-minute power play.
  • My other take: I’m fairly confident this thing wraps up soon. Once the players calm down and actually review what the owners proposed, I can’t imagine it being so incredibly bad that it would derail the entire process. Sure the players are probably offended that the owner’s publicly put the ball in their court, but they’ll get over it (I hope).
14

July

2011 Undrafted Free Agents the Packers May Target when the Lockout Ends

On Monday, the up-and-down talk of the NFL lockout centered around a potential date—July 21st—for when this seemingly never-ending labor dispute will be over. Regardless of when it ends, however, there’s a couple of aspects I’m fairly certain about for when we see that fateful day.

One of the things I think the new agreement will likely allow is for teams to add a few more players to their roster than the previous number of 53. This would help counteract the effects of this lockout on the 2011 crop of undrafted free agents. The second is more obvious. As we’ve come to expect, GM Ted Thompson rarely adds veteran free agents, and I’d bet on that continuing once the lockout ends. It’s likely that the only chance for seeing new Packers (besides draft picks, of course) is via undrafted free agents, an avenue where Thompson has been wildly successful.

So while we’ve touched on the subject before here at AllGreenBayPackers.com, here is a revised and updated list of potential undrafted free agents the Packers might consider once the lockout finally ends.

QUARTERBACKS

Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin: He’s a smart and accurate quarterback who could help fill the void if Matt Flynn leaves in free agency next season. Would need to beat out current No. 3 Graham Harrell, but both McCarthy and Thompson were in Madison to see him at UW’s Pro Day.

Jeff Van Camp, Florida Atlantic: Van Camp is a big kid (6’5″), and he’s not afraid to use his feet to make plays when protection breaks down. He’d need considerably more work than Tolzein but might have a higher ceiling.

Adam Weber, Minnesota: Weber certainly has the arm and athleticism to warrant a look in an NFL team’s camp. And no college quarterback has the experience of Weber, who started a Big Ten record 50 games under center for the Gophers.

RUNNING BACKS

Graig Cooper, Miami: I raved about Cooper prior to the NFL draft as a potential late-round pick for the Packers, but they went ahead and picked a very similar player in Alex Green at the end of the third round. Even so, Cooper is a talented player who can contribute in several ways on special teams.

12

July

If He Wants To Play, Brett Favre Will Have NFL Options

The month of July;  it means so many different things for people that live in this great country we call the United States.

For most of the population, the seventh month on the calendar is typically filled with fireworks, hot weather, heading to the cabin or beach, and grilling out. For me, that also includes a birthday (the 25th), but you know what I’m talking about—July is full of normal summer activities.

And slowly but surely, it’s become the annual start to the Brett Favre will-he-or-won’t-he come back to the NFL discussion. Yes, Brett Favre is now a regular contributor to your July NFL news.

To be fair, the first round of Favre discussion started this June when he told the Biloxi Sun Herald that he “can still throw the ball as well as I ever have.” By now, we all should know that everything Brett says to the national media has a purpose, even if he also told the Herald that he’s “been beat up enough.” But whether he wanted the press to eat up that first comment is beyond the point.

If Brett Lorenzo Favre wants to play a 21st NFL season in 2011, he’ll likely have options to do just that.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves with that statement, let’s be reminded that Brett’s family is on record saying he will stay retired. Scott, Brett’s brother, said  ”there was less than a 1% chance (he would return),” and Favre’s mother, Bonita, said “he is crazy if he does (return).”

It’d be hard to disagree with either of those statements. I still think that the chances remain very, very low that Favre every plays again in the NFL, and, after last season’s horror show in Minnesota, he probably would be crazy to return.

But if we know anything about Brett Favre, it’s that if there’s a will, there’s a way. His brother Scott gives him less than a 1% chance? That’s plenty for ole No. 4.  No one has had a harder time walking away from the game than Favre.

So, what if that 1% chance comes to fruition? What are Favre’s hypothetical options to make another comeback? Let’s run them down.

Option 1: Hook on with a quarterback-needy team

10

July

The Final Chapter: The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling: List of All Packers With Wrestling Connections

Clay Matthews raises Edge's hand after a match on WWE Smackdown.

We continue our “Sunday Storytime” with chapter 4 in a series examining the history of the NFL, the Green Bay Packers and professional wrestling. This is the final chapter in the series. The introduction to the series can be read here. Chapter 1 can be read hereand Chapter 2  can be read here. Chapter 3 can be read here.

The final chapter in our look at the connection between the Green Bay Packers, the NFL and professional wrestling is a database of wrestlers with ties to the Packers. I know I am probably missing some names, so if you know of anyone that I omitted, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them.

With the lockout (hopefully) ending this week, you probably won’t have to put up with any more pro wrestling posts from me. I had a lot of fun putting this series together and I hope at least a few of you found something a little worthwhile in each chapter.

A friend of mine manages a popular Minnesota Timberwolves blog and is posting about his return to distance running as the NBA lockout drags on. I also recently started running and probably could have put together some amusing posts about my struggles for this site. But seriously, would you rather read about me — a 240-pound blogger trying not to die of a heart attack while running a mile — or Dick the Bruiser?

I’d take Dick the Bruiser every time.

Pro Wrestlers With Connections to the Packers

Vern Gagne
Gagne was a 16-time world heavyweight champion and owner/promoter of the American Wrestling Association (AWA) based in Minneapolis. Gagne never actually played for the Packers, but tried out and was cut during training camp. To help himself get over with wrestling fans in the Wisconsin and Green Bay regions, Gagne would often bill himself as a former Green Bay Packer.

Lex Luger
Luger (real name Larry Pfohl) is a former member of the famous Four Horseman stable and the groundbreaking NWO. Luger spent the entire 1982 season on the Packers injured reserve and was released before the start of the 1983 season.

8

July

NFL Free Agency Begins – 8th Circuit Court Rules In Owners’ Favor

In a decision that most expected but at a time that surprised many, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of NFL ownership in the ongoing legal dispute that the lockout has become.

True to their word, however, the ruling was one that neither side really will like.  While they won the case, the court ruled that free agents are not eligible to be locked out due to no employer/employee relationship.

What that means is that free agency can finally begin.  While players under contract remain locked out, players whose contracts had expired (like Cullen Jenkins and many others) cannot be locked out and can begin visiting with other teams as soon as a hearing is held regarding the matter.

Despite this ruling, both the players and owners continue to negotiate.  With word coming out about a potential deal being reached in the next few days, there is no doubt many fans are concerned about this ruling giving all the leverage to the owners.

While that definitely is the case, the more ‘moderate’ owners have taken charge of the negotiations with people like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys being held in check.

It remains unclear if this ruling with break Jones out of his cage, but with the deals still so fragile yet a deal oh-so-close, it would be in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s best interest to not let this be a distraction

Time of course is beginning to play a big factor in these negotiations.  Teams are scheduled to begin training camp in a few weeks and the first preseason games are roughly a month away.

The clock is ticking. And the fans are watching (and stewing).

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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