Free agent left tackle Matt Light was up early this morning bringing his kids to school and also took a few minutes to chat about the progress of his shoulder rehab, his thoughts on the court-mandated mediation between the NFL and NFL Players' Association that began today in Minnesota, and also his draft/lockout breakfast chat event he's holding next week in Boston.
Light, the Pats' player rep to the NFLPA, said his right shoulder - he underwent surgery several weeks ago - is progressing well, provided he sticks to the plan set forth by his doctors.
"It's good; it's real good. Itís one of those things that you have to take your time, they keep holding you back and babying you, and then they'll set me loose...as long as I follow their directions Iíll be good, but I have a hard time with that," he said, chuckling.
The Pro Bowler wasn't joking when it came to the topic of mediated talks aimed at getting a new collective bargaining agreement in place. Federal Judge Susan Nelson ordered the NFL and NFLPA to resume mediated talks, and they got underway this morning. But while Nelson can make the two sides talk, she can't make them strike a new deal.
"You know, Iím not going to say Iím overly optimistic...Iím not there but for our executive committee, De (Smith, NFLPA head), our team of lawyers, it will be apparent pretty early if theyíre serious about tackling the issues and getting down to business. The real key to it all is when theyíre ready to stop exhausting all these other measures and start talking about a real deal it will happen pretty quickly," Light said.
"I just donít see it being rocket science to get the deal doneÖwe just have to get to the table and talk about it."
Light does see it as a positive that a few owners - the NFL said this morning that Pats' owner Robert Kraft was among four Labor Committee members present for the opening day of the talks - are present.
"From our angle, we donít send people to negotiation who donít have the power to get things done," said Light. "I donít know if anybody knows who their real decision-makers are. Have they given it to (lead counsel Jeff) Pash and the legal team, which I doubt? Have they given it to Goodell? I donít think so. We donít know who can get deal done. But I would say the more of them that are there the better."
Light is holding a fundraising event on Tuesday, a breakfast at The Liberty Hotel in Boston that will be a chat and question-and-answer session on the lockout, draft, and other topics with himself, Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Logan Mankins and former New England offensive lineman Russ Hochstein, who is now a player rep in Denver.
"Thereís so many questions out there as to whatís happening with negotiations and mediation, and so many different viewpoints and we thought, I thought, people would get a kick out of hearing from guys, me, and an expert like Peter King," Light said in explaining the genesis of the event.
There are a few tickets left; for information or to purchase tickets, go to the Light Foundation website.