BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said “no” Thursday when asked about the 10-year collective bargaining agreement getting extended beyond the 2020 season.

“We prepare for war,” he said. “If we are able to get a collective bargaining agreement done, great. All of these men went through a unilateral war declared on players in 2010-11.”

The NFLPA president, Eric Winston, stressed there are many portions of the current contract they believe need changing, from health care issues to the union’s role in overall league decisions, to revenue splits.

“We want 99 percent of the revenues,” Winston joked before adding the structure of rookies’ contracts, health care and technical field issues as key elements for negotiations.

One area the union is adamant about wanting to change is Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in handing out player discipline. The players gave up any alteration in that area in 2011 in exchange for other concessions.

They’ve regretted it ever since, and also take issue with the system of fines handed out.


“The fine system and guys are labeled as repeat offenders,” annoys Thomas Davis, the 2014 Walter Payton Award winner as NFL Man of the Year.

The Carolina linebacker was suspended for one game this season for what was determined an egregious hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams.

“They group and categorize everyone in the same box. It shouldn’t be that way,” said Davis.

Smith ducked answering queries about Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem beginning in 2016 sparked the 2017 player protests about social injustice. Kaepernick was not on any roster this season and has filed a grievance against the NFL that the union is supporting.

But Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed the season while injured, said that Kaepernick has had an effect on his peers.

“I don’t think that made people more fearful” of repercussions from management, Herzlich said of the demonstrations during the anthem.


“It empowered more people to join a movement they really felt was right. I think the bravery of these men to really show what they feel and say, this is about unity. We’re not going against the country or the flag, but we’re about wanting equality.”

PACKERS: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to take the same path as Tom Brady, still flinging footballs and chasing championships at age 40.

He knows he might have to leave Green Bay to do that.

Rodgers, 34, acknowledged that he may have to play for another team like Brett Favre did at the end of his Hall of Fame career.

Rodgers said he doesn’t think Favre ever fathomed leaving Green Bay before the Packers dealt him in 2008 to the Jets to make room for Rodgers. Favre finished his career in Minnesota.

STEELERS: Injured linebacker Ryan Shazier was released from the hospital, nearly two months after suffering a spinal injury in a victory over Cincinnati.

Shazier underwent spine stabilization Dec. 6, and while he was able to travel a bit, including visiting team practices and making appearances for home games, he returned to the hospital each night.

Shazier will transition to an outpatient therapy program.

Shazier, 25, posted a picture on Instagram of himself standing alongside quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shortly after his discharge was announced. Shazier had his left arm draped over Roethlisberger’s shoulders and his right hand on something for support. Shazier thanked everyone from family to teammates to doctors to fans for their support and said he will “continue to work hard and push and find a way back.”

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