Players asked to vote on decertifying union

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The NFL Players Association is handing out voting cards to the players that could lead to decertification of the union.

QB Tom Brady said Saturday that he is happy to be staying with New England, breaking his silence on the matter.  Stephan Savoia/Associated Press
Stephan Savoia/Associated Press
QB Tom Brady said Saturday that he is happy to be staying with New England, breaking his silence on the matter.

A person familiar with the union's plans told The Associated Press on Saturday that players from all 32 teams will be asked to consider decertification, which could prevent the owners from locking out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expires in March.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the union has not announced its plans.

Should the union decertify, it could have the right to sue the league under antitrust laws if the players are locked out. It is sending out voting cards now because, logistically, getting enough signatures after the season would be difficult, if not impossible.

The story was first reported by the Sports Business Journal , which cited a source as saying the New Orleans Saints already voted to decertify.

"This is purely a procedural matter and is a non-story until March," George Atallah , the NFLPA's assistant executive director, told the AP.

REDSKINS: According to ESPN.com, coach Mike Shanahan has decided that defensive end Albert Haynesworth will play in tonight's season-opener against Dallas.

The Web site reported that Haynesworth has been informed that he will play primarily on passing downs, rushing from an inside position. If Dallas opens the game with a three-receiver set, Haynesworth could start.

49ERS: Vernon Davis received a five-year contract extension from San Francisco.

The tight end, entering his fifth NFL season, led the team with 78 receptions last year for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns, which tied Antonio Gates ' NFL mark for the position. Davis made his first Pro Bowl in 2009 and tied for the league lead in touchdown catches with Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald .

PATRIOTS: Quarterback Tom Brady is happy to be staying in New England.

The former NFL MVP broke his silence on a four-year contract extension Saturday, two days after the sides agreed to terms.

"Not only have I had the good fortune of playing for just one franchise, I have also played for the greatest head coach and with some of the best teammates a player could ever ask for," Brady said.

Dolphins: Miami linebacker Channing Crowder has been ruled out of today's opener at Buffalo because of a lingering groin injury. Crowder hasn't practiced since Aug. 17 and didn't accompany the Dolphins on their flight Saturday.

KRAMER OBIT: Former Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions tight end Ron Kramer has died at age 75.

The University of Michigan said Kramer died Saturday at his home. It did not release the cause of death.

Kramer caught two TD passes from Bart Starr in Green Bay's 1961 NFL championship victory over the New York Giants. He had his most productive season in 1962 with 37 receptions for 555 yards and seven touchdowns and was an All-Pro.


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