Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, the team’s player representative, has been part of some of the talks thus far this offseason regarding the NFL’s labor issues (including an NFLPA press conference at the Super Bowl pictured below; that’s Feely in the back row just over the left shoulder of Kevin Mawae — sorry Jay, it’s the only picture out there that included you). Some of Feely’s comments about the talks and, specifically, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to a New York radio station, grabbed headlines. But his theme has been fairly straight-forward, a hope that reasonable minds on both sides will eventually help complete a new CBA.
That continued Tuesday when he appeared on Pro Football Talk Live, a webcasted TV show through profootballtalk.com with Mike Florio. The vast majority of Feely’s interview was about the labor situation, and he reiterated several times the need to take emotions/egos out of the discussion.
“If you go through each issue and you do it logically, you and I could sit there and we could find a way to come up with answers,” Feely said. “I did an event last week with (Cardinals president) Mr. (Michael) Bidwill after the Super Bowl out in Arizona. We were presenting to the state legislature on a concussions bill that they are going to bring before the state senate on a return to play guideline. Jeff Miller, who is one of the lawyers for the NFL, was out there as well. Obviously, he and I had a lot of time to sit and talk. You could sit there in a logical setting where you don’t have any emotions and where there are not the lawyers on both sides and come up with ideas that would be able to bridge the gap. I just hope we are able to do that in the setting of the negotiations.”
Florio asked Feely — who is signed through the 2011 season — if he expected to return to the Cardinals. Feely said he “absolutely” did (it was a little bit of a weird question, because I don’t think there has ever been any doubt Feely will be back, especially after his excellent season) and then talked about himself in the bigger picture, having played for the Falcons, Giants and Jets, among others.
“This is interesting because I have had a great relationship with a lot of the owners on the teams that I played on,” Feely said. “I consider (Atlanta owner) Arthur Blank a friend of mine. I consider Michael Bidwill a friend of mine. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Maras and for (Jets owner) Woody Johnson.
“It has changed – the feelings from 1987 to 1993 in those strike years and when that CBA was finally agreed upon. The stories I heard from those players, there was so much hate and vitriol on both sides and so much animosity but you don’t have that anymore, for the most part, between owners and players. You have a lot of respect. You have a lot of mutual admiration. You have a lot of owners and players who work together to get things done, both in the community as well as within advertising and the team structure. I am hopeful that we can go through this process without ruining these relationships. That is part of what has made the NFL so successful is the ability for the owners and for the players to connect and to work together.”
Tags: CBA, Jay Feely, labor talks, Michael Bidwill
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