Bills, Dolphins might reprise union salute


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson is on the NFL Players Association's board of player representatives.

But he was caught off guard when the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints made a public display of union solidarity before Thursday night's game in the Superdome.

"When I saw it," Wilson said, "it sent chills down my body."

Players from along both sidelines walked shoulder to shoulder about 10 yards onto the field, looked across the way and raised their index fingers in unison at their opponents.

The NFL is in the final year of its collective bargaining agreement. A lockout is on the horizon, and the players wanted to show management they're united for the upcoming labor battle.

"That just goes to show the solidarity that our players have as we close in on a potential lockout," Wilson said Friday at the Bills' facility.

"It was a true acknowledgment from one team to an opponent 'Yeah, we're about to embark on 60 minutes of hell, of physical competition, aggression and passion, but before we do that, we're one team, one locker room.' It was gladiator-like, almost."

Wilson wants to put on a similar display before the Bills open the season against the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. Sunday in Orchard Park.

Wilson said he would reach out to the Dolphins' union representative, running back Ricky Williams, over the weekend to make arrangements.

"I guarantee without a shadow of a doubt every owner had a conversation about what they saw and what it means moving forward," Wilson said. "Our players are together.

"Even though we're playing football, we're businessmen and family men. Even though we're about to go into the heat of battle, we're conscious of everything that's going on around our game right now and the lockout that's looming."