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Thursday, March 3, 2011
Brady, Mankins agree to be faces of union

By Tim Graham

Although a faction of AFC East blog readers have a disdain for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and all of his dashing goodness, the NFL Players Association knows what a powerful weapon he will be for their cause.

Other than those envious of Brady's success, it's difficult to begrudge him as a leading man in the NFL. That's why he has agreed to be one of nine lead plaintiffs if the NFL Players Association goes forth with an antitrust lawsuit against the league as expected.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Patriots guard Logan Mankins also would be among the nine plaintiffs.

Their involvement in the lawsuit mostly is symbolic. Brady, Manning and Brees have five Super Bowl rings and are highly respected in the league. They've also sold a mountain of jerseys and posters. Mankins doesn't fit their mold, but he is viewed sympathetically as a star player who has been worked over by the system in the past year.

The other five listed plaintiffs almost certainly will be fan favorites who would help rally public sentiment for the union. Try to guess who they'll be in the comments section below this article.

Before the union files the lawsuit it must decertify the union. That was expected to happen Thursday, but the owners and players agreed to a 24-hour temporary extension of the collective bargaining agreement, which was supposed to expire at midnight.