Nate Davis, USA TODAY
Published 8:53 p.m. ET Jan. 29, 2020 | Updated 9:40 p.m. ET Jan. 29, 2020
SportsPulse: We quizzed the Chiefs and 49ers on their own team’s history and the results were pretty shocking.
MIAMI — The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire following next season, but the league and players continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching an extension before the specter of another work stoppage arises.
However any notion that a 17-game regular-season schedule is a fait accompli as it pertains to the next CBA was summarily shot down Wednesday evening by San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, who doubles as a vice president for the NFL Players Association executive committee.
“I don’t think it’s something players are interested in, honestly,” he said. “And if that’s the point (owners are) negotiating on, then I think these negotiations are going to go a lot longer than anticipated.
“It’s always odd when you hear player safety is (the league’s) biggest concern,” Sherman continued. “They’re really standing up for player safety, player safety, player safety, but it seems like player safety has a price tag. Player safety up to the point of ‘Hey, 17 games makes us this much money, so we really don’t care how safe they are if you’re going to pay us this much money to play another game.’
“That’s the part that’s really concerning for us as a union and us as players.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about negotiations earlier in the day but declined to offer any meaningful update. He did tout the league’s safety record even though concussions were slightly up during the 2019 season.
“(Owners) think that players have a price tag on their health, and I don’t think we’re in the same ballpark in that regard. Players have been more aware of player safety and longevity and just life after football. The league kinda pretends that they’re interested in it, pretends that they care about it, makes all these rules,” said Sherman, “but then still proposes players to play an extra game. And not just 17 – they’re really just saying 17 so that they can get to 18. And so that’s two more opportunities for player to risk their bodies, to put their bodies on the line.
“And that’s what’s so ridiculous about it – nobody calls them out. Nobody calls out the hypocrisy. And I’m hoping that one day that people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy and them saying, ‘Hey, we really care about player safety but, hey, we also want you to play an extra game and put your body on the line and risk your career.”
Stay tuned in the coming months for what could shape up as the wedge issue between NFL labor peace and war.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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