Conference calls used to brief players on lockout

Buffalo safety George Wilson likes what he sees and hears about the players' recent discussions with the owners to end the lockout. The Bills' player representative also cautions against getting swept away by expectations of an imminent settlement.


"We're definitely optimistic we're moving in the right direction," Wilson told The Associated Press on Saturday. "Right now we feel like we're having meaningful discussions. ... We feel we have the right people in the room, discussing the right things and both sides want to get a deal done. But even though we're moving in the right direction, we're not there yet."

Wilson said conference calls held in the past two days mark the first time in a while players have been briefed on a lockout that is in its fourth month.

"That's because there haven't been any developments the last little while," he said.

The players also were told more updates will come next week, when Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, several owners and players are to meet again at an undisclosed location.

"There's definitely going to be talks every week because time is of the essence," Wilson said.

One person with knowledge of the discussions told the AP "not much progress" was made in the fourth round of recent meetings, in Hull, Mass. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.

The key issue is how to divide revenues -- the league took in about $9.3 billion last year. One person familiar with the owners' proposal told the AP on Tuesday that the players' share would approach the 50 percent the NFLPA has said it has received throughout the last decade. But the expense credits -- about $1 billion last year -- that the league takes off the top would disappear.

Also, there would no longer be "designated revenues" from which the players would share.

Steelers QB might need surgery

PITTSBURGH --- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he might eventually need surgery on a broken right foot that bothered him during the team's run to the Super Bowl last year.

Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he could have opted for surgery following the season but decided to let it heal after talking to doctors.

Roethlisberger aggravated the injury during a game against Buffalo last November, though he did not miss a snap. He played the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs with a special cleat fitted with two metal plates. The Steelers lost to Green Bay 31-25 in the Super Bowl.

He said the ongoing NFL lockout has helped him recover from the injury but he hasn't ruled out surgery at some point.

-- Associated Press



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