There is good news and bad news when it comes to the NFL. The bad news is that the lockout is still ongoing and if players want to work out they have to do it on their own. However the good news is that the players and the owners have been meeting semi-secretly for the last few weeks and it looks like there could be progress in the talks. While nothing has been cleared up at this point and it remains to be seen if there will be football in 2011, the fact that negotiations are going on is a good sign.
In fact one of the things that has been brought up recently is the idea of maybe an eight game schedule as opposed to a 16 game schedule. Now, of course every NFL fan wants to see the league play as many games as possible and would certainly favor a full season, but at this point I just want to see football. If it is four games, eight games, or ten games, it just doesn’t matter. The players want to play and the fans just want to see their favorite game get things worked out so there is football on Sundays.
Drew Brees joined WWL in New Orleans with Bobby and Deke to talk about how free agency would work if there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, what he thinks the benefit is of the player organized workouts, if he thinks the lockout will come to an end soon, and whether or not he thinks coaching may be in his future.
How free agency works if they play under the rules of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement:
“That’s been talked about quite a bit because that was an uncapped year, which was last year. It would be an uncapped year with reduced benefits for players unfortunately there was no 401 K match, there was no annuity, there was no health reimbursement account, none of those normal benefits we would’ve had, and free agency was at six years. So you will have had to play six years in order to become a free agent. There’s quite a few guys that would normally be free agents after four years, but in the uncapped year last year it switched from four to six. You look at guys on our team like Roman Harper would be a free agent, but if it’s six years he’s not, David Thomas would be a free agent, but if it’s six years he’s not, Lance Moore another guy. There’s quite a few. In fact there’s over 200 across the NFL, actually 400.”
On the offseason workouts that he has organized with his teammates and how they could give New Orleans an edge:
“That’s the plan. You can only worry about the things that you can control. We can’t control what the court is going to decide in regard to this lockout, but the fact is we can’t go into our own team facilities so you have to assemble on your own, you have to make your own arrangements, there’s so many young players that don’t have the ability to be here paying rent somewhere or even travel back and forth between here and home so a lot of us feel like it’s our responsibility as veteran players to organize these workouts and to really get something out of it and take care of these young guys because in the end the team that has been together, has been working hard, is in the best shape, and is the most mentally prepared, is the team that is going to fare best during the season I believe. We’re having a great opportunity with all the young guys that are present right now, it gives an opportunity to install the offense and install the defense, work through a lot of the things that a lot of the guys on other teams I’m afraid are not getting that opportunity so when camp does start and the season does start I think they’re going to be behind. We don’t want that for our guys. We want them to be on track.”
Whether or not he thinks he will get back to being the player he once was:
“I am the eternal optimist. I know that there has been progress made in regards to the discussions that have been taking place both last week and this week in Chicago and New York respectively. Those discussions are ongoing. There’s a lot of issues to get through, but I think that’s something that both sides really want, certainly us as players to not miss anytime. We want to get to training camp on time and we want to play games on time. We were not the ones who instituted the lockout. We were the ones who were forced to be locked out, to not have the opportunity to train, and to be at our facilities with our coaches. We very much want to be able to play and I think the big thing that is right in front of us is let’s end this lockout. We have to end this lockout. It’s in court right now and we, as players, don’t want this lockout. We want this lockout to be over so we can play and then we can continue discussions for as long as it takes, but while we’re continuing those discussions were at least playing football and not taking anything away from the fans.”
On the team being young and whether or not they can and what kind of expectations they have:
“I’ll be coaching my kids little league soccer teams and that kind of thing. I don’t know about coaching at the college level or NFL level or anything like that, but I’m not going to close any doors. This has been an interesting offseason for a lot of reasons, but in regards to these workouts and having to organize it on our own, you’re responsible for everything. You’re responsible for organizing the film you’re going to watch every day, putting together the scripts that you’re going to go out there and call plays off of, you’re responsible for figuring out what plays marry up against what defenses, who you’re trying to get the ball to, and there’s a lot of things to think about. It certainly gives you an amount of respect for the coaches and the responsibility that they have every day in preparing you for practice. A lot of things I have to think about right now that I don’t have to think about right now that I don’t have to think about in the season because I know the coaches will take care of it. In essence we are players slash coaches slash operations manager, slash everything. We have all the responsibilities right now.”