â†µIn the first negotiating session between the NFL and NFLPA since February, the two sides discussed the possibility of extending the NFL regular season to 18 games while shortening the preseason from four to two games. While there's a feeling of inevitability to the schedule being lengthened, Tom Brady and Ray Lewis told the union that players should have health concerns if the league is going to add more chances for injury with increased play. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe league is obviously in favor of the move because it means increased revenue. Having testimony from two stars in the hearings is likely a ploy to get more concessions from the league in ongoing negotiations in the collective bargaining agreement. From recent comments made by commissioner Roger Goodell, the league might be willing to offer regulations against teams pressuring players with ostensibly voluntary workouts. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥"Obviously there's a lot of pressure from teammates and coaches," Goodell said, "so I think we're going to have to have some guidelines and restrictions on what can be done and can't be done in the offseason." â†µâ†µ
â†µGoodell didn't go into detail about what those guidelines would entail, but NFLPA complaints have been a theme of the offseason, with the Ravens, Lions and Jaguars losing OTA time because of infractions regarding the allowable intensity in current offseason practice. Every year it seems players are given grief for skipping practices that are labeled voluntary, but the implication, which is eagerly fueled by the media, is that an athlete is not really committed and not a true team player unless they attend every last one. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe pressure from the public cannot be willed away by the league, but it will subside as organizations themselves aren't able to give players grief for something that they aren't by definition obligated to do during a time they are supposed to let their bodies recover. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.