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Goodell's letter to players

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  March 19, 2011 03:08 PM

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  • Commit to retain the current 16-game regular season format for at least the next two seasons, and further commit not to change to an 18-game regular season without the Union's agreement.
  • Expand injury guarantees for players. The clubs offered to guarantee up to $1 million of a second year of your contract if you are injured and cannot return to play.
  • For the first time, players and families would be able to purchase continuing coverage in the player medical plan after retirement for life, and could use their health savings account benefit to do so.
  • Enhanced retirement benefits for pre-1993 players. More than 2,000 former players would have received an immediate increase in their pensions averaging nearly 60 percent, funded entirely by the owners.
  • A new entry-level compensation system that would make more than $300 million per draft class available for veterans' pay and player benefits. The new system would preserve individual negotiations - not a wage scale - and would allow players drafted in rounds 2 through 7 to earn as much or more than they earn today.
  • Significant changes in disciplinary procedures, including a jointly-appointed neutral arbitrator to hear all drug and steroid appeals.

Working together, players and clubs have made the game great. Our fans want us to find common ground, settle our differences, and come to a fair agreement. I have met with many of you since becoming Commissioner. You know of my great respect and admiration for you as men and as players. We need to come together, and soon.

In that spirit, we are prepared to negotiate a full agreement that would incorporate these features and other progressive changes that would benefit players, clubs, and fans. Only through collective bargaining will we reach that kind of agreement. Our goal is to make our league even better than it is today, with the benefits shared by all of us.

I hope you will encourage your Union to return to the bargaining table and conclude and new collective bargaining agreement.

Sincerely,
Roger

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