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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Mawae, Pitts, Vanden Bosch on new NFLPA boss

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A couple players from the AFC South were included on a press release the NFLPA just sent out with reactions to newly elected executive director DeMaurice Smith.

The most striking thing here to me is the way Texans guard Chester Pitts characterizes the union's relationship/negotiations with owners as "war."

Kevin Mawae, NFLPA president and Tennessee Titans center:

"DeMaurice is full of energy and excitement, and he has an infectious personality that I believe is going to draw guys to him. His professionalism and resume, the way he carries himself, his progressive ideas for this organization, his thoughts about how to unify the players in the locker room ... the list can go on and on. There's not just one thing that stood out. I think it was the entire package.

"From a year ago to today, the biggest challenge is behind us right now. The next challenge is to set our game plan for the CBA, discuss how to deal with our issues with retired players, and try to develop a game plan in other areas. We'll get it done and I'm looking forward to it."

Pitts:

"DeMaurice's presentation was so well thought out and it was completely outside of the box. When you're fighting a war against billionaires, he's well versed in that language, so that was a really big part of it. It's just his presence, the way he stands in front of the podium. Immediately he got everyone's attention. It was just a very special presentation.

"Well, the best part about the vote was that it didn't matter if you were a kicker or an offensive lineman, if you were black, if you were white, if you were a rookie, if you were a 14-year guy; everyone in that room was captivated in the exact same fashion, and truth be told, we didn't need to use all the ballots, it was unnecessary. It made everything on the up and up, but when you looked around when he was speaking, everyone was like 'if this isn't the guy, no one's the guy' and that probably is what is the most impressive."

Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee Titans defensive end:

"I think everybody in the room could feel the excitement. It's not our first step but it's a huge step moving forward, for us to show where we're at. We knew DeMaurice would hit the ground running, and when he got up in front of the group, it just reaffirmed what we had known about him -- that he was going to take control, that we could get behind him. Everybody in the room just fed off of his confidence.

"He came in with a plan. We had a plan as a union of where we want to go, but he came back to us with some new ideas and some things that we feel are really going to be beneficial as we go into unchartered waters."