Sep 7, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (42) gives a glove to a fan after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Lions’ Jalen Reeves-Maybin to lead NFLPA

Detroit Lions linebacker and special teams standout Jalen Reeves-Maybin is the new president of the NFL Players Association.

The NFLPA announced Friday that he was elected president by the player board of representatives. He served on the board’s executive committee the past two seasons.

Reeves-Maybin follows J.C. Tretter, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, who was elected in March 2022 to his second two-year term. He remained president despite his NFL retirement in August 2022.

Reeves-Maybin, 29, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Lions and played four years there before signing as a free agent with the Houston Texans in 2022. Released by the Texans in March 2023, he returned to Detroit and was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season for his play on special teams.

He signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Lions on Feb. 26.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; London, United Kingdom; The NFL Shield logo at Tottenham Hotpsur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL players to keep disability benefits

The NFL and the players association have come to an agreement that will allow players who receive disability benefits from the league to also receive Social Security benefits, the two sides announced Thursday.

The league and the NFL Players Association agreed as part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2020 to reduce the league-paid disability benefits by the amount the players received from the government. The new financial agreement was set to take effect in January 2024, delayed after pushback from affected retired players and some union leaders.

“The NFL was responsive to the NFLPA’s proposal and has agreed to make the necessary change to prevent those specific former players from having a reduction in this benefit,” the league and union said jointly.

“Our Executive Committee understands the importance and legacy of our union’s support of former players in need, and we are proud that we fought for a solution to preserve this benefit for former players who need it the most,” the NFLPA said in a statement Thursday.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the decision applies to the 400 or so players already in the retirement system. In the future, players ruled totally disabled by a doctor hired by the Social Security Administration will see their league benefits reduced by the amount of the government payout.

The Times said that while some of the players who receive pay for total disability get as much as $22,000 a month, most receive about half that. Those who Social Security doctors have determined qualify for payments receive $3,200 a month from the government.

–Field Level Media

Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd (56) sacks New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) early in the first quarter during the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. Rodgers was carted off the field after being hit.

NFLPA: League must invest in grass playing surfaces

Two days after Aaron Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles, the NFLPA asked the league to eliminate artificial turf playing surfaces.

NFLPA Executive Director Lloyd Howell said in a statement Wednesday that the players prefer natural grass fields, defining the request as a safety issue.

“Moving all stadium fields to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make. The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL,” Howell said. “While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries.

“It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players. This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now.”

Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari posted his opinion to Twitter after Rodgers went down Monday night just four snaps into his tenure with the New York Jets.

He expanded on his take in an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

“It’s been weighing heavy on me,” Bakhtiari said. “You’re seeing (players) voice their displeasure with certain surfaces. When it is grass, maintaining a proper level of grass. With the artificial — there’s not a need for it. It is aesthetically pleasing for TV. It’s borderline carpet that’s nice to put platforms on so you can host concerts and performances easy.

“If we keep advocating for player safety this is a disservice. … From a first-person perspective, it sucks. No one enjoys playing on it. Look at football for its origin. We played on grass. It’s meant to be on grass. Quit ignoring it and address it now.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith interact at press conference at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA elects Lloyd Howell as executive director

Lloyd Howell was elected NFLPA executive director on Wednesday, replacing DeMaurice Smith as the head of the league’s players association.

Howell spent more than 34 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, including most recently as chief financial officer. Smith was the third executive director of the NFLPA and had been in the role since 2009.

“We are excited to have Lloyd lead our union into its next chapter and succeed DeMaurice Smith, who has ably led our organization for the past decade plus and has our gratitude and thanks,” NFLPA president JC Tretter said. “It was important for us to run a process that lived up to the prestige of the position we sought to fill. The process was 100% player led and focused on leadership competency, skills and experience. Our union deserves strong leadership and a smooth transition, and we are confident Lloyd will make impactful advances on behalf of our membership.”

The Board of Player Representatives conducted the vote after what Tretter said was a “months-long search.”

“I want to congratulate Lloyd Howell on his election as Executive Director of the NFL Players Association and to thank DeMaurice Smith for his continued partnership and unstinting work on behalf of NFL players,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We look forward to working with Lloyd and his team to continue growing the game and making it better, safer, and more accessible and attractive to fans around the world.”

Howell has an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Howell’s official start date will be established in the coming days, the NFLPA said.

“The opportunity to represent the players is a privilege,” Howell said. “I look forward to building relationships and the solidarity amongst our players. The history and strength of this institution is impressive, and I look forward to driving our bold goals and achieving them together in the future.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFLPA press conference at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA enters collaboration to encourage voting

The National Football League Players Association and voter engagement organization Black Men Vote have entered a partnership to encourage voter registration and engagement.

The initiative, announced Tuesday, will include components such as a public awareness campaign to highlight the value of voting, voter registration drives, research and funding. While it focuses on the young Black male community, the effort also will reach out to the general American public.

“Black Men Vote’s mission to empower men of color and to educate them on issues that impact our communities seamlessly aligns with what we stand for as a union as well as with the players we represent,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a news release. “Voting is one of the greatest weapons we have in our ongoing march for justice. Together, I’m excited to see what we will accomplish as we work to make sure that every voice is heard at the polls.”

The NFLPA represents more than 2,000 players and advocates for human rights, social rights and equality. Current and former players will be involved in spreading the message.

–Field Level Media

Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts fan pose for a photo before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL agent allegedly offered vacation stays for draft picks

The NFL Players Association is looking into allegations that agent David Canter tried to offer team officials free use of vacation homes in exchange for selecting players he represents in last month’s NFL draft, ESPN reported.

Sources told ESPN that Canter engaged in a “form of bribery” when he allegedly contacted teams with his offer.

Late Friday, Canter’s attorney released a statement to ESPN.

“We are aware that the NFLPA is looking into communications between my client and various management personnel of certain NFL teams,” Adam Kenner said in the statement. “Mr. Canter did not engage in any wrongdoing and he is fully cooperating with the NFLPA. We expect the situation to be resolved shortly.”

Per the report, the NFLPA is evaluating whether Canter violated any of the articles in the Regulations for Contract Advisors.

The association’s Committee on Agent Relations and Discipline, which is a group made up of active and former players, would issue any discipline for Canter if the investigations finds a violation. The committee has the power to fine, suspend or revoke the certification of agents.

Canter is the president of GSE Worldwide, and he and the agency represented 21 players in the 2023 draft class, including wide receiver Jayden Reed, a second-round pick by the Green Bay Packers. His client list includes Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard and Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

According to ESPN, Canter previously has been disciplined by the NFLPA, and that could factor into the committee’s decision in this case.

–Field Leve; Media

Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin accepts the Alan Page Community Award during the NFLPA press conference at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA medical director: Bills’ Damar Hamlin will play football again

Though it’s unclear if Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin will ever play again, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer believes Damar Hamlin will eventually return to the field.

“I don’t want to get into HIPAA issues, but I guarantee you that Damar Hamlin will play professional football again,” Mayer said on Sirius XM Doctor Radio show “Heart to Heart” this week.

Hamlin, who turns 25 next month and is making significant progress after suffering cardiac arrest last month, was awarded the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award on Wednesday for his work off the field. He was in good spirits during a recent Super Bowl Week appearance.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, Hamlin attempted a routine tackle on receiver Tee Higgins and collapsed after trying to stand up. He received medical care on the field and was brought to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

As the NFL community rallied around him, Hamlin was later transferred to a medical center in Buffalo and was released Jan. 11. He made his first public appearance during the Bills’ AFC divisional round matchup against the Bengals.

Hamlin teamed with the American Heart Association to raise awareness for CPR training and education and expressed his gratitude for all the support on a social media post.

“What happened to me on Monday Night Football was a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world,” Hamlin said in the message.

A sixth-round pick of the Bills in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Pitt, Hamlin became a full-time starter in 2022. In 29 career games, Hamlin has 93 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, four passes defended and one forced fumble.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass during the second half against the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA releases first Players’ All-Pro team

Active NFL players cast ballots for the first ever Players’ All-Pro Team released by the NFL Players Association on Wednesday.

Players voted only for their position group or groups and the position group or groups they personally line up against on the gameday. For example, centers could vote for other centers, defensive tackles and inside linebackers.

The traditional NFL All-Pro Team is voted on exclusively by media in balloting organized by the Pro Football Writers Association.

“As the experts in their own field, players had the exclusive opportunity to determine which of their peers performed best this season,” the NFLPA said in a statement.

No members of the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills are recognized and only one player from the AFC South, Titans long snapper Morgan Cox, is on the Players’ team.

The union said players could not vote for themselves or teammates, nor any player who missed five games or more prior to Week 15.

Twenty-nine players were named “Players All-Pro” at 23 different positions.

The top five vote-getters at every position will be released at a later date, the NFLPA said.

“Players compete against each other all season long, watching hours and hours of film week after week; and yet, we have never had an opportunity to truly use our expertise to select the best of us,” NFLPA President JC Tretter said. “We think it is important that players take the time to define ourselves, because so far, we have allowed everyone else to either pick or dilute our voices.”

THE 2022 PLAYERS’ ALL-PRO FIRST TEAM

Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City)

Running Back: Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas)

Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk (San Francisco)

Wide Receiver (2): Justin Jefferson (Minnesota), Davante Adams (Las Vegas)

Tight End: Travis Kelce (Kansas City)

Left Tackle: Trent Williams (San Francisco)

Left Guard: Joel Bitonio (Cleveland)

Center: Jason Kelce (Philadelphia)

Right Guard: Zack Martin (Dallas)

Right Tackle: Lane Johnson (Philadelphia)

Edge Rusher (2): Nick Bosa (San Francisco), Myles Garrett (Cleveland)

Interior Defensive Lineman (2): Chris Jones (Kansas City), Aaron Donald (LA Rams)

Nose Tackle: Dexter Lawrence (New York Giants)

Off-Ball Linebacker (2): Fred Warner (San Francisco), Roquan Smith (Baltimore)

Cornerback (2): Patrick Surtain II (Denver), Darius Slay (Philadelphia)

Free Safety: Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh)

Strong Safety: Derwin James Jr. (LA Chargers)

Kick Returner: Cordarrelle Patterson (Atlanta)

Punt Returner: KaVontae Turpin (Dallas)

Core Teamer (2): Jeremy Reaves (Washington), Justin Hardee (NY Jets)

Kicker: Jason Myers (Seattle)

Punter: Tommy Townsend (Kansas City)

Long Snapper: Morgan Cox (Tennessee)

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams (9) cannot catch the pass as Carolina Panthers cornerback CJ Henderson (24) defends in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFLPA filing grievance over Panthers’ turf

The NFL Players Association plans to file a grievance against the NFL and the Carolina Panthers, claiming the hardness of the artificial turf for a Dec. 24 game violated the protocols in the collective bargaining agreement, according to ESPN.

The game against the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., was the coldest home game in Panthers’ history, with a temperature of only 20 degrees at the start of the game.

The NFLPA complained about the field conditions, asking before the game for a delay of the 1 p.m. start and again asking for a delay after the game started.

“I thought the field conditions were below NFL-level standard,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said after the game. “Specifically pregame. I know it warmed up a little as the game went on.

“I don’t know what the deal is here, but they need to figure out a way to make the turf not feel like cement.”

The conditions eventually improved and by halftime had returned to normal. The Panthers beat the Lions 37-23.

Field turf was installed at Bank of America Stadium before the 2021 season by Panthers owner David Tepper, who anticipated more games as his professional soccer team, Charlotte FC, started sharing the stadium with the NFL team.

Carolina team officials had no comment.

–Field Level Media

Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension.

Syndication Akron Beacon Journal

Report: NFLPA claims collusion over guaranteed contracts

The NFL Players Association alleges the league and its teams colluded to keep players from receiving fully guaranteed contracts.

In a report published Tuesday, The Athletic said that on Oct. 20, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash sent a confidential memo to team executive leadership notifying them that the NFL had filed the claim.

The memo, obtained by The Athletic, includes comments from the NFLPA’s filing. The basis centers around quarterback Deshaun Watson signing a fully guaranteed contract with the Cleveland Browns and the players association anticipating “fully-guaranteed contracts would now become the competition driven norm for the top players in the League, including quarterbacks, negotiating new contracts.”

Pash said in the memo the NFLPA alleges “NFL owners and/or League executives discussed not agreeing to any additional player contracts with fully-guaranteed salaries” before, after and at the owners meeting on Aug. 9.

The Browns gave up a bounty of draft picks to acquire Watson from the Houston Texans in March and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract. The move, at the time, was seen as especially curious given that Watson was the subject of two dozen civil lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual impropriety during massages.

While no criminal charges were filed, the NFL suspended him 11 games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and fined him $5 million.

Arizona signed Kyler Murray and the Broncos re-upped with trade acquisition Russell Wilson, but those lucrative deals were not 100 percent guaranteed. Negotiations between the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson have reportedly been hung up on that very detail — whether his deal would be fully guaranteed.

Pash said the NFLPA is asking for an arbitrator to award damages and allow “certain quarterbacks who have been adversely affected by the collusive agreement to terminate their current player contracts. We are aware of no evidence supporting these collusion claims, which we will vigorously defend.”

One NFL executive told The Athletic there was no agreement organized among owners.

“They don’t need to collude to do that,” the unidentified executive told The Athletic. “The Browns are the only team willing to do that. Everybody else knows that it was a terrible contract.”

–Field Level Media