Morning, my friends. If you're mad at me today, you have a rare opportunity to yell directly at my face. The only catch is, while you'll be able to hear me, I won't be able to hear you, so you'll still have to use the mailbag.
I am in Bristol today and will be appearing on "First Take" on ESPN2 from 10 am until noon ET. I'll be the one in the chair opposite Skip Bayless, debating away on a variety of topics, some of which may include NFL labor as well as Plaxico Burress and the Eagles.
Don't worry -- I promise not to forget about you. I'll put something up on Burress and the Eagles later today. I'm going to put the Fired-Up Friday debate post up right before the show starts, so you'll have something to hold you over in between listening to me talk about the insane Game 2 of the NBA Finals. And you know I'll be strolling through the comments on that one so we can have some fun together.
Meantime, eat, link and be merry:
Jerry Jones was among the influential owners at the Chicago mediation session that has everybody fired up about the lockout may be ending soon, and his presence speaks to the real issue at the heart of the labor dispute. The reason the owners opted out of the last deal and decided to lock out the players because they don't like the current economic structure of the league. But the main problem isn't between players and owners as much as it is between the high-revenue owners and the lower-revenue ones. If guys like Jones and Carolina's Jerry Richardson (who was also at the meeting) can resolve some of their own differences on the league's economic issues, then the owners will find themselves in a more friendly negotiating mood vis-a-vis the players. And if that has been happening behind the scenes, it could explain why these discussions are taking place now. We'll see.
Cowboys.com's continuing roster rundown looks at Felix Jones and his chances to emerge as the nominal "starter" at running back in 2011. If you read my column yesterday, you know how I feel on this issue.
New York Giants
Brandon Jacobs says there's no chance Burress comes back to the Giants. I don't doubt Jacobs' sources or question his reasoning (that Burress wants a change of scenery), but it should be noted that Jacobs is neither Burress' agent nor a member of the Giants' front office. I'm picking the Eagles as the team most likely to sign Burress, but I think ruling out the Giants would be a mistake, given their history with him and the uncertainty around Steve Smith's knee. Just never say never, is all I'm saying.
Giants players are still trying to figure out when and whether they'll next get together to practice as a group. No idea if this is accurate or if it means anything, but it does seem as though the Giants have done the least of any of the division's teams when it comes to player-organized workouts.
Brent Celek says players are okay with the lockout until they start losing paychecks. Um ... yeah. Kinda figured that. Just a tip, though, Brent: It's not the most awesome negotiating technique to say publicly, "Yeah, we can wait out this lockout until September, but then it's going to get tough." There's a chance that's exactly what the owners are counting on, right?
Andy Reid is no Buddy Ryan, says Rich Hofmann, who wonders if Reid's relationship with his players could be hurt by Reid's decision to publicly renounce the NFL Coaches' Association brief and side with the owners in the labor dispute.
Chris Cooley went on NFL Network (Side note: Why are players doing NFL Network interviews while the NFL is locking them out?) and talked about a number of things. My favorite was his take on John Beck and the Redskins' QB situation: "Obviously, we're going to have to bring someone else in." Sounds like a brutal indictment of Beck if you take it out of context, but what Cooley meant was that Beck is the only QB on the roster and obviously you need more than one, even if Beck is the starter. Still, struck me as funny, since -- out of context -- it probably jives with what most fans would say about the situation.
The Skins are planning some more player-organized workouts in the middle of this month. Got to give Lorenzo Alexander and the other leaders on this team credit for keeping things organized during a tough time. I'm curious to see if it pays off -- if teams that hung together like this during this summer get a bump in post-lockout performances. Curious to see, too, if it works in the other direction against the Giants.
All right, that's it for now. Enjoy "First Take."