|Matt Light talks about the labor process, including his own involvement as a player rep||08.03.11 at 7:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots player rep Matt Light indicated that the NFLPA has a conference call scheduled for late Wednesday night to discuss some of the issues that are still apparently holding up the completion of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark told reporters that unless NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would be willing to show some flexibility when it came to player discipline, the CBA won’t be ratified tomorrow. That would prevent the newly signed players from practicing with their new teams.
“De Smith is still working and we’re trying to get this figured out,” Clark said of the NFLPA chief. “But it’s not an absolute that guys will be at practice [Thursday].”
“I know that they’re going back and forth right now on some of these issues that are outstanding,” said Light, who signed a new deal earlier this week and said he was “excited” about the idea of returning to the practice field on Thursday.
“Whether it’s player conduct, and things of that nature to the testing, there’s things that need to be ironed out, and I’m sure they will,” Light said. “It was a long process and both sides understood that you had to compromise. You had to at least get to the table to get things resolved, and they’re doing that now like they did in the last couple weeks.”
Light also discussed his work as a player rep.
“My role from Day One as a player rep has always been to help inform my guys as to what’s happening, what they can expect from their union, what their benefits are, all those little things that a young guy — and even in some cases older guys — don’t fully understand,” he said. “And that’s the extent of it.
“I don’t get involved in all the politics and behind the scenes stuff. My role and what I think they expect from me is to be able to look at things and speak on their behalf on certain issues and then go to them when they need help. And that’s it. Doesn’t cross any more lines than that.”
In the end, Light said it was a long and difficult process, but in the end, it was worth it.
“It’s a long term deal and I think that gives certainty to both sides and it’s what we needed and we’re looking forward to, hopefully, a long period of peace here.
Light lauded the role that Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft played in helping reach a deal that satisfies both players the and owners, saying the quotes from Indianapolis center Jeff Saturday — who called Kraft “a man who helped save football — really tell the whole story.
“I think what you saw with Saturday and some of the other guys on the executive committee, their reaction to his involvement speaks volumes,” Light said. “I know when we went to the meetings, they let me know how important it was to have him in the room and what kind of leadership and just real experience he brought to the whole conversation, which was really the thing that was lacking for a long time. So we’re all grateful that that happened.”
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