Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Updated: March 5, 2:14 PM ET
Atlanta attorney meets requirements
By Chris Mortensen
Atlanta attorney David Cornwell has met the requirements to be on the ballot when the NFL Players Association votes on its next executive director.
Three player representatives have endorsed Cornwell, a sports and entertainment attorney who had been eliminated from the selection process, putting him back on the ballot.
An NFLPA representative confirmed Cornwell joins former NFLPA presidents Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent, along with D.C.-area attorney DeMaurice Smith, as candidates to replace Gene Upshaw, who died in August of pancreatic cancer.
Player meetings begin March 14 in Maui, with the vote expected to take place March 15. The NFLPA executive director is elected by simple majority vote.
Richard Berthelsen has been serving as the interim director.
Cornwell previously has criticized the union's search, referring to the selection process as one in "complete disarray," in a letter sent to NFLPA president Kevin Mawae last month.
In the letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Cornwell called the process "corrosive" and "polarizing."
"The current infighting and political maneuvering neither advances nor protects the interests of the NFL players," Cornwell wrote.
Noting that the union approaches a critical juncture after NFL owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement last year, Cornwell questioned whether the NFLPA is united and prepared to enter into new labor talks.
"The [search] process has done nothing but sow the seeds of long-term internal division, which NFL owners are certain to exploit," Cornwell wrote. "What should have been a historic selection of leadership for the next decade has degenerated into a destructive display of intrigue and division. NFL players deserve more and better."
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.