The NFL Annual Meeting begins today and runs through Thursday in New Orleans where the attention is usually on rule changes and the state of the game, and already reports are starting to roll in. Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Rob Demovsky caught up with Packers president Mark Murphy who gave him an overview of this year's meeting. “The whole focus is going to be on labor,” said Murphy. “Obviously, there’s a number of issues related to the health and safety of the players, but the whole focus is going to be, how are we going to resolve our labor situation?” Compensatory draft choices will be announced some time this week too, in which the Packers will find out what they received for losing Aaron Kampman in free agency last season.
Mark Murphy, a representative on the league's labor committee, is optimistic a deal is going to get done. "I think we're going to end up with an agreement," Murphy told Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. "It's going to be collectively bargained. The sooner we can get back to the bargaining table, the better. I think we all feel we're going to get this resolved. We're going to have a season." When they're going to get it resolved is still a matter of debate.
Murphy was also asked how teams are already feeling the effects of an NFL lockout. "I asked Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy if there are any areas where teams are already feeling the impact of the lockout," writes Kevin Seifert, the NFC North blogger at ESPN.com. "According to Murphy, some corporate sponsors are expressing concern about renewing their deals with the uncertainty of the 2011 regular season." Murphy also said some teams are having a hard time selling their premium seating areas, though the Packers are probably in better shape than some other teams thanks to a season ticket waiting list with tens of thousands of names on it.
As for Ted Thompson, he'll be focusing on the football side of things. "Thompson said for him these meetings are abt football and bot the CBA," writes Rob Demovsky on Twitter in shorthand. "He's curious to hear abt rule changes especially the kickoff moving." The feeling I'm getting is that the new kickoff proposal will not be approved. There appears to be a lot of negative response to it.
Some of the typical post-Super Bowl plans have been put on hold because of the NFL lockout. "The Packers, for example, have yet to accept an invitation to the White House, since team leaders did not think President Obama would want to welcome only Packers executives and coaches," writes Bill Pennington of the New York Times. "They have not ordered their Super Bowl rings because they want to consult with the players, whom they are prohibited from contacting during the lockout. Spring and summer are traditionally the seasons when Packers players make dozens of appearances at schools and at fund-raising charity events, but not this year." I did hear of one offseason charity basketball game being planned. I'm not sure how that's going to work. Perhaps the players will be doing them completely on their own.
Acme Packing Company touches on the topic of season ticket holders needing payment by March 31 despite the lockout.
From the NFL owners meeting...
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