Part Of NFL, NFLPA CBA Negotiations Include Talk Of Expanding Regular Season

NFL and NFLPA officials met today for another negotiation session regarding the new CBA. They also discussed the possibility of expanding the NFL regular season to 18 games.

From the NFL's perspective, there are several key ideas to take out of this: any changes wouldn't be adopted until 2012; NFL would consider reducing the preseason games; roster sizes could be expanded and injured reserve rules could be tweaked; extra bye week could be added; developmental league could be added.

"I think this is an idea that is really gaining momentum particularly within the owners," Packers president Mark Murphy said of the enhanced season. "It's something we've talked a lot about over the last year."

The NFL also said they would not impose the rules "unilaterally" meaning they would want the NFLPA in on it. George Atallah, a rep for the NFLPA, expressed some concern over three issues with the NFL's proposal.

  • NFLPA has "concerns" with the NFL's studies on the impact of injury risks
  • How would the league provide "post-career health care"?
  • Would there be extra compensation?

Two prominent NFL players -- Tom Brady and Ray Lewis -- have expressed concern about expanding the regular season.

“I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games," Brady said. "The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care. Our Union has done a great job of raising the awareness on these issues and will make the right decision for us players, the game and the fans.”

Added Lewis: “I’ve been blessed to play this game for so long, but it’s time to start thinking about what legacy and impact changes like this will leave for the players of tomorrow and us after we retire. I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don’t like all of them, but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games -- when players already play hurt -- comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

The NFL says the idea is gaining momentum with the owners but it sounds as if the players have plenty of reservations.

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