Cornelius Bennett played for the Buffalo Bills from 1987-1995 as a linebacker, and he helped his team make four Super Bowl appearances during that run. He's stayed connected to his team and the community as he outlines in an article for Buffalo News about the NFL Lockout. Bennett talks about the importance of a team's connection to the fans in a city - especially small markets - and calls on the owners to end the lockout and negotiate with the players while things run like usual.
I was in those negotiation sessions representing the interests of former players but also looking out for my Bills franchise that I love so much. Players want to play, but we also want what's fair for the game. We believe in the connection between a city, its players and its team. A lockout erodes that connection.
Why can't the owners lift the lockout today so we can watch our beloved team grow on the field, while the sides resolve our business differences off of it?
In a perfect world, that's exactly what would happen. Unfortunately, in reality, things aren't that simple. If everyone got back to work with the old rules in place, players would have no incentive to negotiate as long as they were getting paid. The owners would probably want to stop paying the players if they refused to negotiate, which would bring us right back to where we started. So, thanks for the sentiment Mr. Bennett, but your proposition is next to impossible in practice.