DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association. Courtesy of

For an NFL “off-season”, these past few months have been quite eventful.

Here in New York, former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, under arrest since 2009 for illegal possession of a firearm, is set to be released on June 6. His release could be good news for teams like the Browns, the Rams and the Raiders, all of which desperately need a talented target for their quarterbacks to pass to.

The biggest law-abusing blunder was on the part of Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who was visited twice last month by police in D.C.: once for assaulting a motorist in an act of road rage, then a week later for sexually assaulting a hotel waitress.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson of the Chargers, linebacker Tamba Hali of the Chiefs, outside linebacker Logan Mankins of the Patriots and quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Colts and Michael Vick of the Eagles have all been franchised in recent months, meaning that they will not become free agents next year. This limits the potential for a large free agent pool in years to come.

In other news, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer wants out. Team owner Mike Brown insists he will not trade Palmer, so the quartback says he is ready to retire if that is what he has to do to “never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again.”
The Bengals have already felt the loss of their wide receiver coach, Mike Smith, this off-season. Smith left Cincinatti to head south to Jacksonville to become the Jaguars’ quarterback coach.

This news immediately followed word that the Baltimore Ravens had released quarterback coach Jim Zorn.
The Ravens found themselves down another coach when offensive consultant Al Saunders, former head coach of the San Diego Chargers, also left Baltimore to head back to California to become offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Besides adding Saunders, the Raiders promoted assistant Chuck Bresnahan to defensive coordinator to replace Hue Jackson, who is now the team’s head coach.

Last Friday, the NFL Players Association decertified and ended negotiations with the league over labor laws. In response, the league declared a lockout. Ten star players have since taken their complaints to federal court, invoking the Sherman Antitrust Act and accusing the league of “conspiracy and anticompetitive practices” (Tom Brady et al. v. the NFL). In 1987, after not reaching a deal, the Players Association went on strike, forcing the team owners to hire replacements. Some of the players filed an antitrust lawsuit, while dozens of other players broke the strike after a few weeks, however. Let’s hope that the same happens next season, so we can all watch our favorite players this fall.

Ondo is a member of
the class of 2014.

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