July 16, 02011
As the owners and players wind their way toward a new collective bargaining agreement which will hopefully be in place for a long time to come, some key issues remain unresolved.
Since it’s no longer about the money, one would hope they aren’t issues that will create a major snag in negotiations that continue this weekend between lawyers and staff members.
Specifically, the players have safety on their minds – and work conditions. EPSN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the players are seeking terms that meet their needs for offseason workouts, training camp practices and in-season practices.
It’s been well known that the players want their obligations in the offseason to be reduced. Per Mortensen, players would like to essentially wipe out two-a-day practices during training camp too. It’s a tricky issue because it’s hard for linemen to get better at their craft when they’re working out without pads on, and the players would like to reduce padded practices.
It’s hard to say how much injury-risk can be reduced by changing some of the practice guidelines. This is an area where the owners need to listen to their coaches to determine what their needs are.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune