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NFLPA chief: 18-game season is off the table

03.09.11 at 8:52 pm ET
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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith said Wednesday night that the idea of an 18-game regular season is off the table in the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between players and owners.

Speaking in Washington, D.C. with radio station 106.7 FM “The Fan,” Smith said for the first time publicly that there’s no way the players would agree an expanded season. Smith reiterated those comments shortly afterward in a conversation with SI.com.

“First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games,” he said. “But more importantly, it’s something that our players don’t want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players’ safety, so we’re not doing it.”

The 18-game schedule is thought to be one of the three major sticking points between the two sides, with the other two points being the redistribution of $9 billion in revenue and the rookie wage scale. (However, Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday afternoon that the two sides had agreed on the basic framework of a new rookie salary system.)

The two sides are attempting to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and avoid the first work stoppage in NFL history since 1987. The deadline for a new deal is Friday.

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