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Sports

NFL and union discuss proposal for longer season

WASHINGTON » The NFL and its players’ union discussed a proposal to change to an 18-game regular season during a bargaining session yesterday.

The league and the NFL Players Association issued a joint statement about the meeting, saying that negotiations "focused on several matters," including the longer regular season, a rookie wage scale and improvements for retired players.

"Both sides look forward to continuing these discussions and reaching a new collective bargaining agreement," the statement said.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires in March, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said he believes owners are preparing for a lockout.

League owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell want to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18, and cut the preseason from four games to two. Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian said Monday he thinks such a switch is a "fait accompli;" the union has not said it wants to make a change.

Goodell has pointed out that the league does not need approval from the players in order to extend the regular season.

BIG TAB

How much is it worth to you to not carry a pair of shoulder pads?

Well, for Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant, it was just less than $55,000.

Remember the overblown incident in training camp when Bryant refused to carry the pads of veteran receiver Roy Williams in a traditional hazing ritual that is an annual rite of passage on most NFL teams?

Williams promised that Bryant would pay one way or another, and specifically pointed to a time when the rookie took the veterans out to dinner.

Payback time came Monday night at Pappas Steakhouse when Bryant was supposed to take a small group of offensive players out to dinner. A few more hungry souls showed up.

The final tab was $54,896.

"When it started out, it was supposed to be small," Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, said. "Way more ended up going. They got him."

 

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