Matt Light on CBA & his Pats future

March, 8, 2011
3/08/11
2:05
PM ET
Patriots left tackle Matt Light, who serves as the team’s player representative, was interviewed on WAAF-FM’s “The Hill-Man Morning Show” and touched on the ongoing NFL labor talks and his future with the team:

A few soundbites:

NFL labor talks between owners and players. “This negotiation, for the longest time, didn’t go anywhere. Then as the deadline approached, I think we all kind of figured it would start to move a little bit. Then we get this extension and I think things are moving.”

Players and owners working toward an agreement. “At the end of the day, there is a lot that goes into it. We’re respectful of their position, and I think some of them are respectful of ours, but there are a lot of the old-school owners that sit back and say ‘Hey, when I whistle, you come running’ and that’s the end of the discussion.”

Projecting if a labor agreement might be reached. “You can’t at this point. I think a lot of the issues, we have gotten a little closer on some of these things that we’ve had a huge gap on earlier. That’s hopeful. I’m telling guys ‘I’m hopeful we can get a deal done.’ I really do want to get a deal. We have guys right now that are scrambling to get coverage on COBRA on their insurance plan, they have kids on the way, their wives are worried about how this is all going to play out. There is so much uncertainty from guys who are in my position – let alone if you have a contract, but if you’re a free agent, you have nothing set in stone and your family is wondering where you’re going to be. From that end of it, I hope we get something done, and I hope we get it done soon. The fans deserve it and the game is at a great point. We have a lot riding on this.”

One issue in negotiations with zero movement. “At the end of the day, the biggest battle is in the overall salary cap and what that number should be. Obviously they wanted to cut about $1 billion off the overall pie. That number obviously would have been drastically reduced from where it is today. It’s hard to substantiate that when you sign record deals and teams become more and more profitable. It’s very difficult from a player’s perspective to understand that. That’s where the big fight is going to be. We don’t have all the information.”

His future with the Patriots as he is a free agent. “I hope [to be back]. If you’re fortunate to play somewhere for 10 years, and you’re going and looking for another contract, you’d like to finish it somewhere that you have familiarity and you know the people. I’ve been a big fan of this organization and what they’ve done, but it is a business. I’m very cognizant of that fact and understand that. They have decisions they have to make and I have decisions I have to make. If we can find a common ground, I’d love to be back.”

The retirement of fellow offensive lineman Stephen Neal. “Steve is a warrior. If you go back and research his wrestling career, no one has done anything like it. What he did coming into the NFL, and how he made his mark on this team, is an incredible story. He’s battled a lot with his injuries. I think you get to a certain point in your career where you say ‘Quality of life is more important than the kind of life that you lead.’ Steve is very conscientious of that and how that plays in his own family and his day-to-day life. For him, I think it was the right decision. It wasn’t like he had anything pulled out from underneath him. It came on his terms.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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