NFL reaches out to its fans

TUESDAY, JAN. 4, 2011

A day after the NFL regular season ended, commissioner Roger Goodell sent an e-mail to about 5 million fans, telling them that “if both sides give a little,” the league and its players’ union “can and will reach an agreement” on a new labor deal.

Citing the U.S. economy and saying, “a 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all,” Goodell wrote Monday: “Yes, NFL players deserve to be paid well. Unfortunately, economic realities are forcing everyone to make tough choices and the NFL is no different.”

He outlined two key elements in negotiations among owners and players to replace the collective bargaining agreement, which expires March 4:

• Expanding from a 16-game regular season to 18 games, which Goodell called “a significant change” that would “resolve fan complaints about preseason” by dropping two exhibition games;

• Instituting “a new system that properly compensates proven veterans and retired players by shifting some of the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies.”

In 2009, according to the e-mail, NFL teams agreed to contracts worth $1.2 billion – including $585 million in guaranteed pay – for 256 drafted rookies.

Goodell also referred to the league’s efforts to improve safety by enforcing rules on dangerous hits, “addressing the potential wear-and-tear on players in the way they train.”

Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton found it noteworthy that Goodell wrote about owners and players needing to “give a little.”

“It sounds like more than ‘a little’ to me. What are the owners giving that’s equal to that?” Orton said.

“This is about more than a labor agreement,” Goodell wrote. “It’s about the future of the NFL.”

Favre in more trouble

Two massage therapists say in a lawsuit that complaining about sexually suggestive text messages from Brett Favre cost them their part-time jobs with the New York Jets.

Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole sued the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, the Jets and a Jets massage coordinator.

The Seahawks’ win over the St. Louis Rams to clinch the NFC West title with a 7-9 mark drew the highest preliminary television rating for the final game of “Sunday Night Football” in its five years on NBC with a 12.6 overnight rating and 19 share, up 11 percent. … Police say Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas was a passenger in a road rage incident in which the driver waved the player’s gun. Canton Township Sgt. Mark Gajeski said that 20-year-old Ravelle Sadler was arrested Dec. 21after three people said they were threatened by the driver of a Nissan Titan in the Detroit suburb.

Cleveland Browns
Fired head coach Marc Mangini who was 5-11 in both his seasons with the Browns.
Houston Texans
Retained head coach Gary Kubiak but fired his defensive assistants. The Texans allowed a league-high 4,280 passing yards and 33 TD passes.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Retained head coach Jack Del Rio but announced that he will be relieved of his duty as play-caller for the defense.
Minnesota Vikings
Hired Leslie Frazier as their coach after he went 3-3 as the interim coach after Brad Childress was fired in November after a 3-7 start.
San Diego Chargers
Fired special teams coach Steve Crosby whose units were largely blamed for the Chargers’ 2-5 start.
University of Florida
The Gators confirmed Monday that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will be Will Muschamp’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Muschamp also hired Seattle Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator and line coach. Weis and Quinn will remain with their NFL teams through the playoffs.

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