Union issues add to Bears' concerns

December, 31, 2009
12/31/09
3:16
PM ET

By JEFF DICKERSON

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It's going to be a busy offseason for Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer.

The seven-year veteran, who serves as the team's representative for the players union, already has fielded an array of questions from teammates regarding a potential uncapped year in 2010. If a new collective barganning agreement is not reached, the rules for free agency change, and will affect several current members of the roster, including Danieal Manning, Mark Anderson and Jamar Williams.

"Especially those guys in that four-to-six year window are real curious as far as what's going to happen," Hillenmeyer said Thursday. "There's a lot of little details like 401K match, tuition reimbursement and insurance stuff that isn't in place for next season as it stands. Guys are worried about little things like that too. You add all that stuff to the kind of year we had, and it's probably going to be a crazy offseason. I don't know how agents even begin to negotiate contracts. They don't know what the labor situation is going to be, so it'll be an offseason probably like we've never seen before.

"[NFLPA executive director] DeMaurice Smith has done a pretty good job making it more of an inclusive process. We have a lot more conference calls, and I know the executive committee is meeting a lot more over the course of things like the NFL Combine, that are still this league year. We're going to try to get a lot more players there [Indianapolis], a lot more players involved so that voice that goes into the locker room to spead that message will be a lot stronger."

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