As the owners and players careen toward the end of yet another less-than-full-week-of-work aimed at resolving the many disputes that need to be resolved in order to save the preseason and regular season, let’s look at Thursday’s developments. If any.
The day began amid the bitter pill of pessimism, via Jay Glazer’s report regarding a not-so-secret Tuesday night phone call, in which NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith told certain elite players that a deal isn’t close. Appearing today on The Dan Patrick Show, Glazer — who ordinarily assumes the traits of a ground hog during the offseason (including but not limited to the odor) — said the goal was to ensure that the players won’t cave and take whatever offer the owners put on the table, and that the call by all appearances worked.
Thus, the message to the owners is now clear: Quit assuming that the players believe a labor deal is coming, and that they’ll therefore agree to anything in order to make it happen.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com thinks the media generally is being manipulated and spun by the parties, and he agrees with our assessment that Smith’s recent reliance on Alexander Graham Bell’s legacy is aimed at making sure the owners realize the players won’t flinch simply when it comes to working out the details to get a deal done.
Breer reports that Smith is back to the phones tonight, conducting a conference call with all player representatives and Executive Committee members. Presumably, someone will blab.
Presumably, Smith wants them to.
Through it all, some still insist a deal is close. But sometimes the hardest part comes when trying to take close to closed. De Smith needs to figure out how to do it, and the owners need to give him a reason to.