It’s a concept we’ve heard plenty of times during the lockout. At one point on PFT Live, Ross Tucker of ESPN and SiriusXM NFL Radio said that veterans would love to miss the offseason program and training camp. And it’s not just because they’re sick of the offseason program and training camp, but also because they won’t have to worry about a rookie trying to bump them off the roster.
More recently, one management-side source opined to PFT that some veterans actively are seeking a delay in the potential resolution of the lockout, so that they can miss training camp and part of the preseason. Even more recently, fourth-year Rams linebacker Bryan Kehl admitted that veterans would like to see the preseason truncated by the labor dispute.
“Nobody likes the preseason,” Kehl told ABC4.com. “If they get a deal done and we roll into camp in mid-August, play one or two preseason games, I think everybody would be pretty happy. Deals get done when there’s pressure on, and the pressure is on now because everybody loses if games are missed.”
But Kehl and the other veterans are missing the point. If only one or two preseason games are played, as much as $600 million will be forever lost. And while the players don’t get game checks in the preseason, that lost money will impact the pool from which their total pay arises.
Thus, all players should want the full preseason to be played. With the exception, of course, of those veteran NFL players who fear that a full preseason will give rookies and other young players enough time to convert those veteran NFL players into former NFL players.
Kehl, who was cut by the Giants last year after only one regular-season game in 2010 and who landed as a reserve with the Rams, appearing in 14 games and starting one, could be one of those players. Already bumped off one NFL roster, Kehl possibly realizes that a full training camp and preseason would give seventh-round draft pick Jabara Williams and any other linebackers whom the Rams may sign a chance to cut Kehl’s career short.
Plenty of other veteran players surely feel the same way right now. For them, giving up all or part of the preseason represents a much better sacrifice than losing all of the 2011 regular season, and beyond.