Thursday, March 3, 2011
Know your union reps (and alternates)
By Paul Kuharsky
Jeff Saturday is the most powerful current AFC South link to the NFLPA. He’s one of 11 players or former players on the union’s executive committee.
With the CBA about to expire, I thought we’d look at the team representatives from around the division. These are guys beyond Saturday that you may spot walking in and out of meetings or hear from -- even if the union decertifies -- as the player try to articulate their positions.
Rep: DeMeco Ryans; co-alternates: Eric Winston, Matt Schaub
Ryans is recovering from a torn Achilles. He’s highly respected in his locker room and looks to be a great communicator. Winston’s been outspoken and smart on labor issues recently (I hope to hit on that more later) and having the starting quarterback in the mix is not insignificant.
Rep: Gary Brackett; co-alternates: Deshea Townsend, Anthony Gonzalez
Brackett too is a great communicator. A rare long-term Colts linebacker, he’s a crucial piece of the team. Townsend’s not under contract going forward, but that doesn’t eliminate him as a factor. Gonzalez is a smart guy coming off a couple injury-plagued seasons.
Rep: Rashean Mathis; co-alternates: Jordan Black, Aaron Kampman
Heading into his ninth year, Mathis remains a key player for the Jaguars and a respected voice in the locker room. Kampman’s a year more experienced and has worked in two small markets -- Green Bay and Jacksonville. Black’s still listed on the union website, but was recently cut and should be being replaced.
Rep: Jake Scott; co-alternates: Jason Babin, Ahmard Hall
From a team with two Hall of Fame linemen on the coaching staff, it’s fitting that the union leader comes from the offensive line group. (Over at the NFC West HQ, Mike Sando points out that 12 of 32 reps are offensive linemen.) Scott has been with the Colts and Titans, so he’s got a more varied perspective than any other rep in the division. Babin and Hall are both heading towards free agency.