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League accepts Vrabel’s offer, but not unconditionally

Mike Vrabel AP

In an interview aired Friday on ESPN, Chiefs linebacker and NFLPA* Executive Committee member Mike Vrabel said that the players want to negotiate, but not with men like outside counsel Bob Batterman, in-house counsel Jeff Pash, or Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Instead, Vrabel said the players want to talk directly to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

The league accepts, sort of.

“The NFL’s negotiating team — accompanied by the three owners Mike mentioned, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft — is prepared to meet immediately.  Just tell us when and where,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

In other words, Batterman, Pash, and Goodell will be there, too.

But we think this is a point on which the owners would be wise to yield.  Bring Batterman, Pash, and Goodell to the meetings, but let the players meet with the owners.  If that’s what it will take to kick-start stalled talks, so be it.

Besides, the league had a chance to get this done with Pash and Batterman and Goodell running the show, and it didn’t work.  If they are interested in working out a fair deal and getting the players back to work, they should be happy to stand down and let the guys who sign the checks determine how big those checks will be.

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56 Responses to “League accepts Vrabel’s offer, but not unconditionally”
  1. mrlynch33 says: Mar 19, 2011 12:22 AM

    Just get it done already.

  2. FinFan68 says: Mar 19, 2011 12:26 AM

    They simply called the players’ bluff. The players say they want to negotiate…but not with those meanies who are paid by the league to do that job. Weren’t the players supposed to be pissed at JJ for taliking down to them or something? I think it is a BS ploy to get away from the fact that they left an offer on the table and walked to the courthouse. The owners called their bluff. Now, they either have to sit down and start talking or find a reason not to.

  3. Brian says: Mar 19, 2011 12:27 AM

    Jerry could get this done. He’s not a great General Manager, but as an owner and businessman, he makes things happen.

  4. skoobyfl says: Mar 19, 2011 12:28 AM

    What would the owners have to lose by simply sitting down with their “locked out” employees to discuss fixing this? The players reached a hand out without fancy men that hold working law degrees to reason out a deal, that seems like the best part of litigations to me. The lawyers can allow their clients to work out their differences & write the details in after the major points are agreed on.

    Based on recent personal experiences, nothing gets accomplished with the litigation lawyers past more litigation. Make sense of the future possibilities without clouding the current situation. Please allow logic to rule the day, things can be better without legal delays.

    Yours truly,

    Any real fan of the NFL

  5. msclemons67 says: Mar 19, 2011 12:36 AM

    Unless the players are willing to leave out Dee Smith and his posse of lawyers they can’t really expect Goodall and Co. to stay away.

  6. jeff061 says: Mar 19, 2011 12:36 AM

    If D-Smith and the idiot player Attys were outside too – I’m sure a meet and greet is fine. However don’t be naive – this deal gets negotiated by the team expert in this matter – not 3 rich dudes who clearly aren’t equipped to neogotiate a CBA

    I want the guys focused on the long term success of the sport – and that’s Goodell, Pasch and Batterman – especially when dealing with the political short – timer D Smith and the Cancer Twins Mawaei and Pete Kendall

  7. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 12:45 AM

    The players don’t trust Roger Goodell. Based on this, they trust Jones and Richardson more than they trust Goodell. That’s pretty revealing.

    Some people on here are defending Goodell because they support the owners, but most fans had nothing positive to say about the guy during the season. He’s been a plague to the league and the strong-arm tactics he, Pash, and Batterman have used are as much to blame for the decertification as anything De Smith has done.

    The owners need to boot those three vipers out of the room, sit down with their players, and get this thing done before that court date. Then they need to boot Goodell out of the commissioner’s office.

  8. endzonezombie says: Mar 19, 2011 12:46 AM

    What makes this complicated is that the NFLPA’s Executive Committee no longer exists. Are the players now represented by the trade association’s legal team? It seems that the owners need to waive any ‘ sham’ claim if they wish to negotiate with the players. I believe that the ‘sham’ complication is why it was believed that the players would not/could not negotiate before April 6th.

  9. tcdun says: Mar 19, 2011 12:47 AM

    The owners are not the ones who walked away from the meetings .The owners are the ones who kept making compromise offeres which the union leadership didn’t ever respond to(because they never wanted to do anything other than go to court ).
    The owners are still waiting and IF the players wanted to suggest that the owners themselves, without the lawyers ,should sit down directly with the players,then the players union should have suggested that last week when they were all in the same building,not now after the players walked out on a deal that was there to be made.
    Perhaps the players should fire their moronic leader(Smith) and then the owners would know they are serious about getting a deal done ?
    You could have asked any SF Niner’s fan that getting anyone named Smith to be in charge of anything was a very bad idea ( see Alex Smith :) ).

  10. CKL says: Mar 19, 2011 1:00 AM

    I couldn’t agree more…leave the commish and the lawyer out…try to concede things you can without hurting your bargaining abilities. It would be a show of good faith as well..something that BOTH sides need to make sure they get across to each other.

  11. bucngator says: Mar 19, 2011 1:02 AM

    I hope this is not in response to some knucklehead ex-jock on Sirius, suggesting the owners were upset at having to sit at the table with players… (I’m paraphrasing, of course… but it was one of those unhelpful comments that tend to piss you off, so I forgot exactly who it was, or how he said it). ….but on the other hand, if it’s the spark that gets this thing into gear, right on!!!

    So on the owners side of the table, there’s Richardson, Jones and Kraft…. and on the players side there’s President, Kevin Mawae, Charlie Batch, Scott Fujita, Sean Morey, Brian Waters, Drew Brees, Brian Dawkins, Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson, Jeff Saturday and of course, Mike Vrabel.

    As you suggested, let’s hope the lawyers are present, but silent…… time to roll-up the sleeves and get this done, before everyone involved, embarrasses themselves any further!!

  12. tcdun says: Mar 19, 2011 1:08 AM

    …Maybe the owners should “decertify” ? They could just say there is no longer an NFL,we are going out of business, and if the players want to work in football they need to go to the Arena League etc etc.
    We all know the decertification of the union is a huge sham,so why can’t the owners pull the same nonsense ?
    We all know that as soon as the courts rule and the teams and players sit back down and work out a deal that the union is going to magically recertify,so why can’t the owners just fire all the players and go out of business (for a while ,wink,wink).
    I would love to see just how far all those players college diplomas get them in the real World ,lol.(especially all the ones who can’t read and write etc ,lol ).

  13. cmstrick says: Mar 19, 2011 1:23 AM

    I own a share of Packer stock… can I come too?

  14. thelionsfan00 says: Mar 19, 2011 1:28 AM

    Bring on the scabs….

  15. zaggs says: Mar 19, 2011 1:43 AM

    Is DeSmith not invited as well? Somehow I think he would be there. Hence no reason to exclude Goodell. The players are pissed that Pash let loose the contents of the Leagues last offer which made the players look childish and proved they were hell bent to decertify (which is why Pash couldn’t get a deal done). A direct meeting with the owners just gives the players a chance to smear them some more. Or its a chance to get the owners away from their deal makers while bringing in the union deal makers.

  16. huskersrock1 says: Mar 19, 2011 1:46 AM

    I still do not understand why the owners don’t just form a single corporation with each one being a shareholder based on the current market value of their club. They would become more liquid since they could just sell shares to raise money, and they could set up any pay structure they saw fit since there would be no collusion argument. They could then set a 25 million dollar salary cap or even a 50 million dollar cap if they felt generous.

  17. siggy00 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:17 AM

    Goodell will never allow it. His ego and micro-managing has ruined the game.

  18. mshinson says: Mar 19, 2011 2:22 AM

    Obligatory Jerry Richardson insult based on one negative report, ever, that happened behind closed doors and has never been confirmed by any of the involved parties.

  19. MichaelEdits says: Mar 19, 2011 2:25 AM

    My wife and I were showing the landlady where water was dripping down the walls in our apartment after every rain. The landlady looked my wife directly in the eyes and said, “There is nothing there. You are very stupid.”

    After that, my negative emotions got the better of me, and colored my perception of every word she said. This made negotiations unnecessarily difficult.

    If either side of the NFL negotiating teams feels that way, rightly or wrongly, this must be addressed before getting at the details of a contract which is honestly too boring for me to think about.

    Also, I’d consider a muzzle for Jones, and fitting Richardson with that old leash Bryant Gumbel used to talk about. Nice kitty…

  20. p4ever says: Mar 19, 2011 2:27 AM

    Let me guess, Vrabel an other players (without counsel) are going to be negotiating with the owners (with counsels). I don’t mean to belittle the players but there’s no match there; it’s like throwing some lawyers in an NFL game to be eaten alive.

  21. sdboltaction says: Mar 19, 2011 2:42 AM

    Whatever it takes to get it done, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request on the players behalf.

  22. rickmirer says: Mar 19, 2011 2:58 AM

    I wish this was happening to baseball.

  23. rickmirer says: Mar 19, 2011 3:00 AM

    Turds, all of them.

  24. hedleykow says: Mar 19, 2011 3:33 AM

    I wonder what the fine would be if Vrabel were to head butt Goodell during a donut break at the negotiations.

    “I’m sorry, Mr. Goodell, will 100k cover that?”

    “Another donut anyone?”

  25. jjohnson154 says: Mar 19, 2011 4:22 AM

    Could you imagine? MIKE VRABEL saves the NFL!? That would e a doozy.

  26. kelvinmchale says: Mar 19, 2011 4:26 AM

    Let Vrabel and his old friend Bob Kraft sit in a room and hash this thing out once and for all.

  27. contract says: Mar 19, 2011 4:49 AM

    The NFL owners are afraid to negotiate face to face with a handful of meatheads?

  28. wryly1 says: Mar 19, 2011 4:53 AM

    Vrabel’s point is a fair and valid one. In almost every other industry, it is management who meets directly with labor to hammer out their agreement. Outside counsel is only in the background to dot the i’s, cross the t’s and put it on paper in the necessary legal language. Labor needs management to look them in the eye when they ngotiate. After all, when it’s said and done, they are the ones who have to work together after the lawyers are gone.

  29. p4ck3r5 says: Mar 19, 2011 5:12 AM

    at least they’re trying

  30. mjjosie says: Mar 19, 2011 5:12 AM

    This whole thing has made me very sick!!! I just want see free agency and trades. JUST MAKE A DEAL ALREADY!!!!!!!!

  31. mistrezzrachael says: Mar 19, 2011 6:40 AM

    Vrabels’ comments/requests are the first intelligent comments coming from players so far in ‘negociations’.

    Also, Kraft has been adament about ‘getting the lawyers out of this thing’ and so far, been the most optimistic owner that..’it’d be criminal if a deal not done’.

    NONE of us wish to see a bitter court case…and this is the ONLY way that this crap can get settled…players face to face w/owners.

    Really HOPING the owners begin to get the message that Goodell may financially have helped owners…but is micro managing and ruining football.

    If players are smart…their biggest stipulation to signing a deal..is that Goodell be gone…Then perhaps there will be some type organization to rules….How many guys got fined for really dumb things??? Am no fan of Harrison, but he got screwed a few times on fines.

  32. elrushbo2 says: Mar 19, 2011 7:07 AM

    Vrabel who?

  33. jimr10 says: Mar 19, 2011 7:27 AM

    hmmmm. what about mawae and smith? will they be there. after all, mawae is not ever a player. he is mad because no team wanted him.

  34. diablito0402 says: Mar 19, 2011 7:45 AM

    Man these players are amazing. They are so conceited, at the end of the day they are just employees just like 92% of america. And they want to control the league. Just take your million dolar salary and shut up and give us football. If theres no football next season im blaming the players 100% period….

  35. chapnastier says: Mar 19, 2011 8:09 AM

    @ Deb

    I would hope that in the interest of fairness that you would also want De Maurice Smith and the other lawyers only interested in making a buck to stay out of this meeting as well right?

    This doesn’t show any type of trusting the owners. Just another attempt in what could only be described as a “trainwreck” of a PR battle.

  36. countyk66ers says: Mar 19, 2011 8:25 AM

    Why not bring in Mark Murphy. He’s been on both sides of the fence.

  37. liquidalfa says: Mar 19, 2011 8:28 AM

    The owners need to put together a take it or leave it offer and just wait until the players start panicking as the bills pile up.

  38. geobh says: Mar 19, 2011 9:02 AM

    players!!!!! report to work or get a new job.
    plenty of other players waiting for the chance.

  39. patpatriotagain says: Mar 19, 2011 9:10 AM

    the owners have already won. they will appeal an unfavorable decision by nelson will go to eighth circuit in Missouri where 16 of the 19 judges are conservative, appointed by either a Bush, Reagan, or Nixon.

  40. mikgaes says: Mar 19, 2011 9:12 AM

    Get Jerry Jones out of there.

  41. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 19, 2011 9:13 AM

    If they want to meet face to face with the owners, Jones and Richardson are probably the last two I’d want to sit down with.
    How about Mara and Rooney instead?

  42. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 19, 2011 9:21 AM

    Brian says: Mar 19, 2011 12:27 AM

    “Jerry could get this done. He’s not a great General Manager, but as an owner and businessman, he makes things happen.”

    Give me a break.
    He couldn’t even successfully get folding chairs unfolded.

  43. sakatak says: Mar 19, 2011 9:23 AM

    Strange choice of owners, why would they not want to negotiate with Mike Murphy, he is one of them. Why not allow Art Rooney in, he seems reasonable. Since when does Jerry Jones care about the rest of the owners? At least they are talking about negotiating again, the problem now seems to be they are negotiating on negotiating.

  44. holeinone09 says: Mar 19, 2011 9:35 AM

    You get each owner (or at least the ones that are available today) and the player rep from each team, put them in one room with a whiteboard and a few tablets, and let them figure it out. No lawyers, no heads of state, just the principals in this thing. And, they all agree that no one is to make a public statement to anybody about anything related to this matter until things are resolved. No more stupid comments, opinions, assertions or assertions, by either side. Everybody wants this worked out, so just work it out already. In the end, everyone is going to make a LOT of money doing what they enjoy doing. Case closed.

  45. eagleswin says: Mar 19, 2011 9:42 AM

    Deb says:
    Mar 19, 2011 12:45 AM
    The players don’t trust Roger Goodell. Based on this, they trust Jones and Richardson more than they trust Goodell. That’s pretty revealing.

    Some people on here are defending Goodell because they support the owners, but most fans had nothing positive to say about the guy during the season. He’s been a plague to the league and the strong-arm tactics he, Pash, and Batterman have used are as much to blame for the decertification as anything De Smith has done.

    The owners need to boot those three vipers out of the room, sit down with their players, and get this thing done before that court date. Then they need to boot Goodell out of the commissioner’s office.
    —————————-
    Not much of an agenda there is there? No. Pretty much DeSmith and the union to blame as much as you like to smear the owners on this. The union has used threats and vague accusations the whole time. Have they explained to you why they need 10 years financials yet? and why they can’t be auditted by a neutral party but must be auditted by the union lackeys?

    I don’t think so but don’t let that distract you from your owner diatribe. The owners have submitted several proposals and while we don’t know every single detail we do know alot of the broadstrokes that they have conceded on. Do we know of anything the players have conceded on? Do we even know the specifics of what the union doesn’t like? No? i heard Anthony Gonzales of the Colts was pulling an all nighter with a point by point rebuttal of Goodells letter. How’s that coming.

    Players are saying the owners are lying yet have no clue as to the specifics of the lie. It’s all propoganda, smoke and mirrors on the union side yet the Goodell is equally to blame.

  46. bensstinkyfingers says: Mar 19, 2011 9:47 AM

    The league should counteroffer -NFL Mascots -Billy the Bull and Rowdy the Cowboy, as the 2 man legal team to negotiate Match wits with DeMoron and Vrabel. Kids and Dimwits seem to react well to people dressed up in foam costumes. It’s time to think outside the box man!

  47. thefiesty1 says: Mar 19, 2011 9:49 AM

    I don’t believe the players really want to meet with Jones and Richardson after they made asses of themselves at previous meetings. Especially those two owners. Kraft, Rooney, Mara- those are the owners the players should be dealing with rather than useless JJ and his evil twin.

  48. mick730 says: Mar 19, 2011 10:04 AM

    patpatriotagain says:
    Mar 19, 2011 9:10 AM
    the owners have already won. they will appeal an unfavorable decision by nelson will go to eighth circuit in Missouri where 16 of the 19 judges are conservative, appointed by either a Bush, Reagan, or Nixon.

    I took a minute and looked this up. It’s true. The 8th Circuit Cout of Appeals is very conservative. I was pretty sure the owners didn’t retain David Boice simply to go before the court in Minnesota.

    Patpatriotagain is correct. The owners have this in the bag.

  49. tommytd says: Mar 19, 2011 10:33 AM

    The owners should dump Goodell. He’s bad for the game and he mucks up everything he touches.

  50. Matt-NC says: Mar 19, 2011 10:43 AM

    The problem is the players are trying to negotiate with high-powered businessmen and lawyers who have this for a living for a very long time.

    If the differences were to be settled by playing on the field, the players would have an advantage. But this is done in the board room.

    A new union needs to be formed that has the player’s interest in mind. Get some businessmen running it and former players advising it. Then they can go toe-to-toe with the owners.

  51. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 10:45 AM

    @chapnastier …

    When I said the owners need to sit down with their players and get this thing done, I meant just that. No Goodell, Pash, and Batterman. No De Smith. The attorneys may have to be present for the signing of the agreement, but they don’t have to be present while the agreement is negotiated.

    And thank you for being civil throughout our disagreement on this issue.

    @eagleswin …

    It’s not accurate, adult, or productive to keep insisting one side is completely at fault as you seem hell-bent on doing. You keep talking about the owners’ proposals plural. At the ninth hour, the owners made one fair proposal addressing many of the players’ concerns, but still failing to address the revenue issue. However, the players made a proposal weeks ago that not only cut their percentage of revenues but also dropped their request to see owner financials. The owners rejected it.

    As with most negotiations, both sides have made compromises and both sides have been intransigent. Both sides have feared, distrusted, misread, and miscalculated the other. For the greater good, it’s time now to put all that away and for the primary parties to talk calmly to one another.

    My last comment didn’t smear the owners. I said the owners, working alone with the players, could get this done. My animosity toward Roger Goodell has nothing to do with the labor issue or laying blame on the owners, and there’s no reason to bring De Smith into it since he has nothing to do with running the league. I’ve never made any secret of my long-running agenda to remove Roger Goodell as commissioner. The man is detrimental to football–to players, owners, fans, the game and its future. He was detrimental before the lockout and will still be a plague on the game when the labor issues are resolved.

  52. These pretzels are making me thirsty! says: Mar 19, 2011 11:03 AM

    “But we think this is a point on which the owners would be wise to yield.”

    Which demand have the players made that you HAVEN’T said the owners must yield, Mike? I’ve read all the related posts on this site, and have yet to find one.

    Even when the owners are the only ones making concessions and negotiating against themselves, your answer seems to be just give the players everything they want. Just yesterday, with news of the 90% cash floor, your initial post was that the owners should just make it 92 or 95 or 98%, with no mention of the players bargaining at all. Here, they don’t want Goodell, so of course they owners need to listen… but not a word about the intransigent De Smith.

    Your position on the issue is clear, and that’s fine. But things would be a hell of a lot more interesting to read here if we didn’t know exactly what to expect in every post…. and your claims to be neutral on the matter, such as in your post yesterday, is laughable, really. At least mix it up a bit, for the sake of appearance, if nothing else.

  53. Brian says: Mar 19, 2011 11:13 AM

    FoozieGrooler says: Mar 19, 2011 9:21 A

    Give me a break.
    He couldn’t even successfully get folding chairs unfolded.

    ————————————–

    Hey, root for the Eagles all you want, but as you should already know, Jerry wasn’t in charge of installing any seats, let alone folding chairs. The NFL takes over the stadium work one month before the Bowl.

    Jerry is a great businessman (not a GM) and would help get a deal done if the players really were willing to sit down with the owners. So would Kraft. I just don’t think the players are all that serious. Just wait for the “clarification”

  54. ampats says: Mar 19, 2011 11:18 AM

    Make sure you leave De Smith (the pimp) on a corner in the Minnesota Strip.

    Wonder how many readers understand what that means?

  55. fordwuzanazi says: Mar 19, 2011 12:13 PM

    Funny, which side is preferring to use lawyers to negotiate? Seems to me the owners are hardly present and the players are forced to talk to lawyers. If the owners would realize that their billions should not prevent them from treating men of less financial success with a level of respect due to all human beings, no matter their economic success, maybe some animosity would be relieved and compromise could be reached.

  56. cbusmike75 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:01 PM

    What? Now Mikey Boy Brown on that list? If they negotiated with him, they could all meet at Denny’s (at their expense of course) and hear about how they could all be redeemed at pennies on the dollar…oh, and that he voted against the last deal and will probably vote against any deal that costs him one red cent.

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