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NFLPA Pres. Eric Winston: An 18 Game Season Would Be A Disservice To Players

As heard on In The Loop
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(credit: Anna-Megan Raley/CBS Houston)

(credit: Anna-Megan Raley/CBS Houston)

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Houston (CBS HOUSTON) - The new NFLPA President Eric Winston joined In The Loop with Nick & Lopez on SportsRadio610 on Thursday to talk about expanding the playoffs and expanding the regular season in the NFL.

Winston first addressed his comments from an interview on Wednesday with The Triple Threat, Sean Pendergast, Rich Lord and Ted Johnson on the SportsRadio 610, where he said:

“I’m a big fan of radically changing a lot of the playoffs.  Take Green Bay for example. This year hosting a 12-4 San Francisco 49ers team when I think Green Bay was 9-7 or 8-8. I don’t agree with that. I’d like them to not only add a game, I’d like to see them actually take a hard look here and say ‘what are we really doing here, what are we really rewarding?”

Winston emphasized that the Players Association hasn’t seen any proposals from the NFL on expanding the playoffs and thus the Players Association can not say they are for or against it.

“We’d look at proposals, we’d look at ideas for it,” Winston said. “As far as being for or against it, nothing has come down on that yet.  I think it will be interesting to see what exactly their proposals are.”

“How they want to compensate. What kind of ideas they have.  How many more games is it really. Those kind of things I think need to be explored.  I think guys are open to listen to it.  I think anytime you can add some excitement in there  and your possibly seeing another team maybe have a chance to win the Super Bowl I think it’s something worth looking at.”

“We’ll have to see what [The NFL] actually have to say.  Up to now it’s just been a lot of rumors and what we think might happen.”

The expansion of playoffs is something that the NFLPA would be willing to discuss, but the addition of two games to the regular season to 18 is what Winston had described as a “non-starter” for the NFLPA.

“I don’t think that it’s a revolutionary statement by me,” Winston said of the ‘non-starter’ comment on an expanded 18 game season. “It’s been the stance of our Players Association for a long time.  I don’t think that is going to change.  It’s a health and safety issue and we’re not going to bargain on that.”

Winston believes that there really isn’t anything the league could do to make the idea of an 18 game season a viable option for the players.

“During the [CBA] negotiations there were all kinds of proposals,” Winston said. “There were proposals with 18 games in it.  There were proposals with 16 games in it.  There were proposals with everything.  And there were never any proposals that even broached the subject of use even seriously talking about it.”

Money shouldn’t even be a factor for the players when it comes to  an 18 game season, because there is no large financial gain that 18 games would bring.

“All of our benefits are tied to season long,” Winston said. “Your pension, you get your pension at three years and two games, active. You get 401Ks, for every season you play you get a match plus double.  So you know there’s formulas for everything.  The longer you play the less benefits you are going to reach.  So just saying ‘Hey, yeah I got an extra hundred grand in my pocket’ that is a very short sided view in my opinion.”

“And that’s just talking about benefits and money.  We’re not talking about health and safety. We’re not talking about the effects on guys long term and their healthcare after playing extra games.  You tie 18 games now over five years; now you’re running into almost an extra season. You can’t just look at it, to me, financially. You can’t look at it in the short term.  Oh if I get an extra couple bucks here maybe it will be worth it because,  I think in that case you’re doing yourself a disservice, I think we’re doing all the players a disservice.”

Eric Winston is currently a free agent, but has played eight seasons in the NFL with three teams, most recently with the Arizona Cardinals.

Listen to the entire interview:

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