NFL and union officials discussed adding two games to the regular season when they met Wednesday for their first negotiating session since February.
Teams would still play a total of 20 exhibition plus regular-season games under the proposal. The league would go from four in the preseason and 16 in the regular season to two and 18.
“This is an idea that is really gaining momentum, particularly with the owners,” Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires in March, which could lead to a work stoppage during the 2011 season.
In quotes released by the NFL Players Association, Tom Brady and Ray Lewis expressed concern about the damage two extra regular-season games could do to players’ bodies.
“The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented,” said Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback.
Murphy suggested that more regular-season games would mean more revenue and more money distributed to players. The earliest season with an expanded schedule would be 2012.
“I know our fans may not like preseason games, and I don’t like all of them,” said Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens linebacker, “but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games — when players already play hurt — comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”
The NFL could expand to 22 games — four exhibition, 18 regular season — under the current CBA, subject to financial negotiation with players, but Murphy said the league would not make a change without an agreement from the union.
The Washington Redskins are going to see if they can recoup all or part of a $21 million bonus from disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, according to a source. The team decided to take the action after Haynesworth failed to report for a mandatory two-day minicamp. … The Redskins signed seventh-round draft pick Terrence Austin, a wide receiver from UCLA. … The New York Jets held their first practice at New Meadowlands Stadium, and usually talkative coach Rex Ryan was at a loss for words. Fans and players complimented the four scoreboards, expanded seating and closed-in atmosphere of the $1.6 billion facility. The team announced it is taking advance orders for its new, limited release commemorative wine, Jets Uncorked, a 2008 cabernet sauvignon. ... Brett Favre’s doctor indicated that his recent ankle surgery went well and the quarterback has a few more weeks of rehabilitation before he’ll decide if he’ll return for a 20th NFL season. … New York Giants wide receiver and punt returner Domenik Hixon will miss the 2010 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.