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NFL Week in Review, February 25, 2011: NFL Labor, Combine, Concussions

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Fooch's Note: Each Friday Smileyman will be taking a weekly look at what has been going in the NFL over the course of the previous week. This week's post provides updates on CBA news, the 2011 NFL Combine, and some miscellaneous other news. If you have other tidbits you want to add, feel free to link them in the comments.

CBA news:

The two sides met for 7 straight days of negotiations without a snarky comment to the media by either side. This is good news. They've adjourned until March 1st, when they'll re-convene for more negotiations before the expiration of the current deal on Mar 4. The break has to be because of the start of the NFL combine to allow both sides to attend the start.

Mediator George Cohen released a statement to the media (which is the only statement to come out of this session).

I've quoted the most relevant parts:

Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance. I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions. The tenor of the across-the table discussions reflected a noteworthy level of mutual respect even in the face of strongly held competing positions. The parties met both in full committee and in subcommittees where discrete, technical issues lent themselves to smaller groups.

At bottom, some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties. Nonetheless, I recommended and the parties have agreed to resume the mediation process in my office commencing next Tuesday (March 1). During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions on those outstanding issues.

Emphasis is mine.

A federal judge heard an appeal from the NFLPA regarding the guaranteed tv revenues for 2011 in the case of a lockout. The NFLPA says that the NFL loaded this year specifically in case of a lockout instead of trying to maximize profits in 2009 and 2010. The NFL, of course, denies this.

NFL Combine

Cam Newton made the news before he even stepped onto the field at the Combine.

In an interview with Peter King Newton had this to say about himself:

"I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon,"

He followed that up with an even better statement:

I don't want to sound arrogant but I did something in one year people couldn't do in their whole collegiate careers.

Speaking of big mouths, Rex Ryan guarantees a SuperBowl win in 2011 for the Jets

"The other thing I want to talk about, a more serious thing, about when I mentioned that I believe this is the year we're going to do it, I believe this is the year we're going to win the Super Bowl," Ryan began. "The fact is when I thought we'd win it the first two years, I guarantee we'll win it this year."

Interesting tidbit--last year the NFL combine outdrew a week's worth of Major League Baseball games. The combine is on the NFL Network which has 55 million subscribers. The MLB games were broadcast on ESPN which is in some 150 million homes. Speaks to the power of the NFL

New Orleans Saints cut Jeremy Shockey

He was due $4.2 million this season and his performance has not been that great

Raiders are making a splash in the limited free agency. They've signed CB Stanfourd Routt to a 3 year deal wirth $31 million, they've put the franchise tag on Kamerion Wimbley, and signed DT John Henderson to a 2 year $8 million deal.

Mankins' agent says that it's a "travesty" what the Patriots have done with his client. They put the franchise tag on him this year instead of making a new deal

The NFL announced yesterday that it will begin instituting standardized tests for concussions. Right now each team uses their own questions for a player's baseline test after the initial concussion. This move to a standardized test is a good one, but what they really need to do is have all the doctors paid by the league, not by the individual teams to remove any conflict of interest.

"A lot of people weren't doing the balance testing, which we think is useful, and the baseline information that people gather during the mini-camps, not everyone was doing as much as they could have been doing," Dr. Margot Putukian told The Associated Press. "For instance, all the teams were asking questions, but they might not have been asking the same questions."

Putukian, the director of athletic medicine at Princeton University and chairwoman of the league's subcommittee on return-to-play issues, said surveys conducted by the league showed not all 32 teams used the same procedures.