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The Gronkowski Brothers spend the day at ESPN

07.21.11 at 12:08 pm ET
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Taking a break from the lockout news, here’s video of three of the Gronkowski brothers ‘€” Patriots tight end Rob, Denver tight end Dan and Dallas fullback Chris ‘€” talking about life in the NFL with ESPN’s Hannah Storm on SportsCenter Thursday morning. (The trio were set to undergo the complete ESPN “car wash” on Thursday, which includes appearances on ESPN radio and other TV shows.)

Read More: Chris Gronkowski, Dan Gronkowski, Hannah Storm, Rob Gronkowski

NFL owners gather for possible vote in Atlanta

07.21.11 at 10:28 am ET
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NFL owners arrived Thursday morning in Atlanta to potentially vote on a proposal that could end the lockout, which began in March and is now the longest work stoppage in the history of the NFL.

Each of the 32 teams are reportedly represented at the meetings. Despite the fact that his mother Myra Kraft passed away Wednesday morning, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft is in attendance, taking the place of his father, Robert.

Several owners spoke with the media on the way into the meeting, and many of them believe they will not only vote on the new deal on Thursday, but that it will pass.

‘€œYes, I think so,’€ Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when asked if he thinks the deal will get done today. ‘€œI’€™d be disappointed like 330 million people in America if it didn’€™t get done today.’€

Read More: Arthur Blank, Jonathan Kraft, lockout, Myra Kraft

Reports: Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson are seeking $10M each

07.20.11 at 10:01 pm ET
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Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins and San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson have waived a request for unrestricted free agency, but are still seeking $10 million each in compensation in return for signing off on the dismissal of the Brady vs. NFL lawsuit, according to Mike Freeman of CBS Sports and Jim Trotter of SI.com.

Mankins and 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!’€ Meanwhile, the Mankins’€™ camp has remained silent since the report first broke earlier this week.

It’€™s unclear how much this is potentially holding up a new agreement. However, the players and owners are seeking a ‘€œglobal resolution’€ to the lockout, which means the dismissal of all the legal action. As long as the lawsuit survives, it figures that both sides will remain at an impasse.

Read More: Jim Trotter, Logan Mankins, Mike Freeman, Vincent Jackson

Report: NFLPA clears way for a Thursday vote on new CBA

07.20.11 at 5:36 pm ET
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A new NFL collective bargaining agreement is ready to be sent to the 10 players named on the anti-trust suit against the NFL, paving the way for a vote on Thursday if pending issues are resolved, according to Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated. Trotter reported the news Wednesday afternoon, via his twitter page.

“Player reps have voted to forward settlement agreement to named plaintiffs, pending resolution of some outstanding issues,” Trotter reported. “Class counsel will continue negotiating with NFL attorneys in hopes of resolving the matter by [Thursday], so owners can vote on it. The players’ vote is conditional, meaning they’re prepared to forward the settlement if certain issues can be resolved with the owners. One of the issues presumably is the $320 million the players lost in benefits last season during the uncapped year.”

Trotter also reported late Wednesday afternoon that a conditional player vote did take place Wednesday in Washington.

Tom Brady is named as a lead plaintiff on the suit, along with Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson are also plaintiffs, both of whom reportedly made demands Tuesday to be granted free agency or receive $10 million before signing off on any settlement.

‘€œWe’€™ve got a lot more work to do, but we’€™re still hashing it out,’€ NFLPA rep Tony Richardson told reporters as he left the NFLPA headquarters in Washington.

NFLPA executive committee members from all 32 teams met in Washington Wednesday, ready to review and vote on a full agreement. Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and nine of the 10 members of the owners’€™ labor committee arrived at a hotel near the Atlanta airport on Wednesday, so they could decide whether to recommend a finalized proposal to all club owners, who are due to be there Thursday.

Read More: Judge Doty Suit, NFL labor, NFLPA, Tom Brady

Kevin Mawae: Not so fast on that labor deal

07.20.11 at 4:02 pm ET
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With so many people predicting – and hoping for – the end of the four-month NFL lockout by the weekend, veteran offensive lineman and a lead negotiator for the NFL Players Association Kevin Mawae warned Wednesday that players are “not tied” to a deadline to get the NFL up and running again.

It had been thought after significant progress had been made late last week that a new CBA was just a matter of finalizing details between lawyers for both players and owners, and further that a deal would be in place for owners to ratify at their meeting in Atlanta on Thursday.

Mawae, 39, and himself a free agent, told reporters Wednesday they won’t push through a deal in the next 24 hours without answering the questions of all players and listening to all concerns.

“We want to go back to work, but we will not agree to a deal unless it’s the best deal for the players.” Mawae said Wednesday outside NFLPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Indeed, NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora reported late Wednesday afternoon on his twitter page that there would be no ratification vote by players on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a lot more work to do, but we’re still hashing it out,” NFLPA rep Tony Richardson told reporters as he left the NFLPA headquarters in Washington.

If the NFL wants to keep to its plan of playing nearly the entire preseason schedule and keep from losing hundreds of millions of dollars every weekend, they would need a resolution within the week, allowing teams to sign free agents, hold training camps and otherwise prepare for the 2011 season.

The Rams and Bears are slated to open the preseason Aug. 7 in the Hall of Fame game.

NFLPA executive committee members from all 32 teams met in Washington Wednesday, ready to review and vote on a full agreement. Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and nine of the 10 members of the owners’ labor committee arrived at a hotel near the Atlanta airport on Wednesday, so they could decide whether to recommend a finalized proposal to all club owners, who are due to be there Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Mawae, Logan Mankins, New England Patriots, nfl

Bill Belichick issues statement regarding Myra Kraft

07.20.11 at 3:16 pm ET
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Through the team, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has issued a statement in the wake of the death of Myra Kraft, wife of New England owner Robert Kraft.

‘€œOn behalf of the entire Patriots football operation, we mourn the passing of Myra Kraft. As much support as her quiet but unmistakable presence provided us in the competitive arena and as much as I personally will miss her warm embraces before and after each game, Myra shined brightest in a much broader arena. In the humanitarian arena, her generosity through philanthropy was admired and appreciated by all. She made a permanent impression on hundreds of coaches, players, staff and our families as a model of grace, strength and giving. Myra’€™s vision and example will impact and remain very much with our team forever.’€

In addition, the Patriots have announced that public services for Myra H. Kraft will be on Friday at 10 a.m. at Temple Emmanuel, located at 385 Ward Street, Newton Centre, MA  02459. In lieu of flowers, the Kraft family has asked that donations be made in Myra’€™s name at the Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Myra Kraft, Robert Kraft,

Heath Evans on M&M: Myra Kraft’s spirit ‘irreplaceable’

07.20.11 at 11:56 am ET
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Former Patriots running back Heath Evans, now with the Saints, joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to share his memories of Myra Kraft, who died Wednesday morning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“She was just special,” Evans said of the wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “Very few owners in this business and this league that truly care about their guys both on and off the field. They are an organization that practices that, they preach it, but they back it up with action and words.

“Myra always made [Evans’ wife] Beth Ann feel so special, and as a husband there is nothing more rewarding than your wife coming come and bragging about the owner’s wife making her feel special and appreciated, always just embracing their ideas for different things in the community and how she embraced the Heath Evans foundation and how special she made Beth Ann feel for stepping up and allowing her story to get all over the country. Myra was instrumental in praising Beth Ann for that.”

Evans said one moment that stands out in his mind is when he was with the Saints and the Krafts took the time to check in with him and see how he and his family were doing.

“They are a very blessed family, financially, but their hearts just spoke volumes to those players and the players families,” he said. “As one of my tweets said, I remember in ’09 when I tore my ACL and trying to crutch across the field and [Myra] and Mr. Kraft coming to me at midfield and knowing by name, how is Beth Ann, how is [daughter] Ava, how is [daughter] Naomi? These are billionaire people who have businesses and players of their own to worry about who were concerned about my family and my knee. Truly special people. Myra had a spirit about her that was irreplaceable.”

Robert Kraft has been heavily involved with the league’s labor negotiations recently, a time in which is wife was very ill. Evans talked about how much balancing Kraft had to do and how much praise he deserves.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Heath Evans, Myra Kraft, Robert Kraft,
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