Biggs: De Smith impresses agents

INDIANAPOLIS—Tough to find much buzz from the agents milling around the scouting combine about free agency this year.

But one thing that raised the group up earlier today was the visit from NFL Players Association executive director De Smith that lasted more than 90 minutes.

“That’s more than Gene Upshaw ever did,” one veteran agent said.

Of course, the union has never been in this exact situation before where it is one week away from what right now looks like a lock to be an uncapped year. A work stoppage in 2011 looms and Smith did his best to poke holes in the stance of the owners. But he stopped short of sharing any real details on the state of negotiations.

Smith conducted a question-and-answer session with the agents and then made himself accessible afterward. Some agents had expressed concern that agents have been in the dark during recent months on the status of the labor showdown. But Smith clearly put forth his best effort. He wants to involve the agents and inform them as the union looks to ensure it is unified for the battle ahead.

Agents were so concerned with concussions and where the league is going with that issue that they asked for some time in the second session to be carved out. Smith made that happen. There was discussion of experiments for safety and new helmet designs.

Typically, agents walk out of the annual meetings with a look of complete boredom plastered on their faces. It was different today.

“There was some worthwhile information,” another agent said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it was good to hear from De in that forum.”

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