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Patriots media alert on public services for Myra Kraft

07.21.11 at 9:02 pm ET
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The Patriots issued the followed statement in regard to the public services for Myra Kraft:

Due to the overwhelming response to the passing of Myra Kraft, the number of persons interested in attending the public services on Friday is expected to exceed the capacity of Temple Emmanuel.

Very limited parking is available via a satellite lot located at Boston College Law School (885 Centre Street, Newton, MA). Shuttle service will be provided from the lot to the Temple. Attendees should also be aware of extreme heat and humidity in the forecast.

Those wishing for alternative methods to pay their respects are encouraged to make donations in Myra’€™s name at the Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston at:

Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund
50 Congress Street
Suite 730
Boston, MA 02109
bgcb.org/donate_special_endowment.cfm

Sympathy cards can be addressed to:

The Kraft Family
One Patriot Place
Foxboro, MA 02035

Memories of Myra Kraft can be shared at Patriots.com/MyraKraftGuestbook

Here’s the full preseason schedule, pending the approval of the players

07.21.11 at 7:39 pm ET
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According to the NFL, here’s the full preseason schedule, pending the approval of the players:

JULY

July 23: Voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction permitted until first day of clubs’€™ preseason training camps.

July 23: Pre-2011 League Year Period commences. 2011 Free Agency List to be issued and will become effective on the first day of the 2011 League Year (July 27). Clubs/players may begin to renegotiate contracts. Clubs may begin to sign Drafted Rookies and their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players.

July 23: Waivers begin for the 2011 League Year.

July 23: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may negotiate with, but not sign, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents, free agents, and other clubs’€™ UFAs, RFAs, and Franchise Players.

July 24: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may begin to sign undrafted rookie free agents.

July 27: 2011 League Year commences at 2:00 PM ET, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Free Agency Signing Period begins. Clubs may sign free agents and other clubs’€™ Unrestricted Free Agents. Clubs may sign Offer Sheets. Trading period begins. All Clubs must be under the Salary Cap. Top 51 rule applies.

July 27: Expand rosters to 90-man limit.

July 27: Training Camps open for all clubs, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Day One activities limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. No pads permitted on Day Two or Day Three.

AUGUST

August 9: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency.

August 11-15: First Preseason Weekend

August 12: Deadline for signing of Offer Sheets by Restricted Free Agents.     (17-day period concludes)

August 12: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by August 26, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from August 26 until the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, at 4:00 PM ET, only with his Prior Club.

August 12: Deadline: if a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract by this date, he cannot be traded during his initial League Year and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting Club until the day of the Draft in the next League Year.

August 13-17: Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the Club’€™s intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the Club’€™s second preseason game.

August 16: Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. (Four-day matching period conlcudes)

August 17: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Restricted Free Agents who have received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only.

August 18-22: Second Preseason Weekend.

August 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend.

August 26: Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents who received the June 1 Tender.

August 29: Deadline for June 15 Tender to Restricted Free Agents. If player’€™s Qualifying Offer is greater than 110% of the player’€™s prior year’€™s Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged), the Club may withdraw the Qualifying Offer on August 29 and retain its exclusive negotiating rights to the player, so long as the Club immediately tenders the player a one-year Player Contract of at least 110% of his prior year’€™s Paragraph 5 Salary, with all the terms of his prior year’€™s contract carried forward unchanged.

August 30: Clubs reduce rosters from 90 players to 75 players.

SEPTEMBER

September 1-2: Fourth Preseason Weekend.

September 3: Clubs reduce rosters to 53 players.

September 8-12: First Regular-Season Weekend.

NFL owners approve new CBA package by a vote of 31-0

07.21.11 at 7:06 pm ET
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The NFL owners voted Thursday night to approve the new Collective Bargaining Agreement by a vote of 31-0, with only the Oakland Raiders abstaining, according to the NFL Network. The focus now shifts to the players, who are scheduled to have a conference call with NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith and all 32 player representatives at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued the follow statement after the vote was made public:

‘€œWe are pleased to announce that our clubs have approved the terms of a long-term negotiated agreement with the NFL players,’€ said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. ‘€œIt includes many positive changes that emerged from a spirit of compromise rooted in doing what is best for the game and players. DeMaurice Smith and his team, and the players and owners involved in the negotiations, deserve great credit for their skill and professionalism. If approved by the players, this agreement will allow the league and its players to continue to benefit from the NFL’€™s popularity and will afford a unique opportunity to deliver to fans an even better, safer, and more competitive game in the future.

‘€œOn behalf of the NFL, our teams and players, I want to express our deep appreciation to Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan. Judge Boylan was the court-appointed mediator, but his contributions far exceeded that role. His patience, determination, and commitment helped keep everyone focused on the goal, and helped lead us to today’€™s announcement.’€

Read More: DeMaurice Smith, lockout, roger goodell,

NFLPA: Everything is cool between us and Logan Mankins

07.21.11 at 6:42 pm ET
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According to the NFLPA, Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins has reached out in an attempt to clear the air over the report that he was seeking either $10 million or unrestricted free agency in exchange for dropping the Brady vs. NFL lawsuit. The NFLPA issued the following statement late Thursday evening via NFLLockout.com:

“The NFLPA leadership has been in touch with Logan Mankins. He and the NFLPA are disappointed by unnamed and unsourced reports in the media that he asked for any financial compensation to be a named plaintiff in the Brady case. Any contention that he would put himself ahead of the other players in this league are baseless.  He reaffirmed his support for a fair settlement that is good for ALL players and members of the class.”

Mankins and San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson, two of the 10 plaintiffs in the suit, were denied unrestricted free agency during the 2010 uncapped season, and both sat out a sizable chunk of the season as a result. (Jackson and Mankins were among a group of players who have had to wait six years to reach unrestricted free agency because of previous rules.) Jackson tweeted earlier this week that he has ‘€œmade no demands, I wanna play ball like the rest of my peers!’€

Read More: lockout, Logan Mankins, Vincent Jackson,

What does recertification for the NFLPA mean and how long could it take?

07.21.11 at 4:35 pm ET
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While the football world waits on the possible recertification of the National Football League Players Association, there remain questions as to what the recertification process involves and how long it will take. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith spoke with the media early Thursday afternoon about the process, and didn’t sound like someone who thinks immediate recertification is a done deal.

“Every individual person has to make a decision about whether they want to be part of a union,” Smith said. “The individual decision is something that our players take extremely serious[ly].

“I know there are a lot of things swirling out there, and I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we might not even be like a real union. Well, guess what? The decision to decertify was important, because at the time we were a real union and the decision for our players as men to come back as a union, is going to be an equally serious and very sober one that they have to make.”

Sports legal expert Michael McCann, the director of the Sports Law Institute at the Vermont Law School and the distinguished visiting Hall of Fame Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law, says that recertification is in the best interests of both sides, but both the players and owners are having their issues with the process.

The league needs the players to recertify for several reasons, not the least of which is that it would help them avoid the possible violation of antitrust laws. Meanwhile, the players are concerned that if they immediately recertify, that would give credence to the NFL’s argument that the whole decertification process that took place in March was a sham in the first place.

“Legally, the two sides could agree without recertification, but it’s in both of their best interest agree to wait until that’s done,” said McCann, who has written about the lockout extensively for SI.com.

Then, there remain questions about how the recertification process would work. One report indicated that the players needed to get the individual signatures of the roughly 1,900 players, while other reports indicate that it could be done electronically. (One player wondered about the possibility of carrier pigeons being used to distribute the ballots.) McCann said that it’s a different process with different unions, but in his experience it’s something that should be able to, “be done pretty quickly, unless the players are incommunicado or something like that.”

“There are a lot of players ‘€” it’€™s a big group. I don’t know how long it would take per se, but I don’€™t think this would take months,” he said. “If in fact they’ve reached a deal and it’€™s just a matter of them endorsing it as players, I think the recertification vote could be done quickly.”

Read More: DeMaurice Smith, lockout, Michael McCann,

Mankins agent: We never sought $10 million in compensation

07.21.11 at 4:01 pm ET
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Logan Mankins never made any monetary demands and is not holding up any potential settlement between the players and the owners, according to a statement made by his agent Frank Bauer to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Mankins, who was one of 10 plaintiffs in the Brady vs. NFL suit, was reportedly seeking $10 million or unrestricted free agency for agreeing to drop the lawsuit. However, Bauer told Mortensen that’€™s certainly not the case.

“I think it’€™s really unfair what has happened to Logan Mankins in media characterizations that he is making monetary demands or holding up a settlement. Logan Mankins is a young man who was encouraged and solicited into a lawsuit to help the union spearhead a new agreement. Logan’€™s main concern for entering into as a plaintiff was to see if he can become free and help other players have less restrictions. For people to say he has made monetary demands, he hasn’€™t made any such demand. We don’€™t know terms. We haven’€™t talked to [NFLPA attorney] Jeff Kessler. There has been no communication but it’€™s irresponsible to report Logan has made monetary demands.

“Are we disappointed there has been no communication? Hugely. He trusted the union and Kessler to fight for Logan Mankins and the other players.”

Mankins and San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson, two of the 10 plaintiffs in the suit, were denied unrestricted free agency during the 2010 uncapped season, and both sat out a sizable chunk of the season as a result. (Jackson and Mankins were among a group of players who have had to wait six years to reach unrestricted free agency because of previous rules.) Jackson tweeted earlier this week that he has, “made no demands, I wanna play ball like the rest of my peers!”

Read More: Frank Bauer, Logan Mankins, Vincent Jackson,

Smith: NFLPA discussing recertification

07.21.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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The NFL Players association is discussing recertification, as NFL Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday in Washington D.C. Recertification is viewed as one of the stumbling blocks to ending the lockout, which is in its 128th day.

Smith noted that individual decisions for individual players to reconstitute are things that “our players take extremely seriously.”

“I know that there’s a lot of things swirling out there, and I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we might not even be like a real union, well guess what? The decision to decertify was important, because at the time, we were a real union,” Smith said. “The decision by the players, as men, to come back into the union is going to be an equally serious and sober one that they have to make.”

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