Two quick thoughts on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's appearance alongside players union chief DeMaurice Smith at the would-be rookie symposium Wednesday:
The symbolism is meaningful. Consider this another indication the NFL and its players are moving toward a labor agreement. I'm still curious to see whether lawyers get in the way. Might players' attorneys want to drag this out while hoping to latch onto any momentum NBA players might gain in their brewing labor battle? Might owners' attorneys want to parlay an expected victory in the appellate courts into a more decisive victory? Here's hoping Goodell and Smith can keep the attorneys from stunting what appears to be real progress.
The rookies should watch their wallets. For years, ex-players and financial experts have warned rookies about the dangers associated with spending too extravagantly. The advice is sound, but the league and even the players union appear ready to make sure rookies have less money in their pockets. Owners have pushed for a rookie wage scale that would severely curtail what draft choices earn coming out of college. The NFL Players Association has sounded amenable to some form of rookie rollbacks. Both sides sound sympathetic to the logical idea that unproven players should not command more than established ones. Such cuts would be good for the game, in my view, but I'd feel differently if I were a draft choice. Thanks to Goodell and Smith, these guys are going to lose money. Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald got it right when he tweeted, "I can only imagine how that talk to the rookies is going. DeSmith: 'Hey guys, Rog and I got together, and you're all getting offered up.'"
Still awake? Good to hear. I'll cease with the labor talk before you nod off.