Order to lift lockout ushers in NFL confusion

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Order to lift lockout ushers in NFL confusion

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
Got chaos? Kinda. Since Judge Nelson's command that NFL owners lift the lockout and let players resume work immediately, confusion over what happens next has taken hold. "It's getting very complicated," one NFL executive told me Monday evening. What's complicated? Here's a little FAQ action for you. The answers? To be candid, some will be educated guesses. I'll let you know when I'm guessing. 1. Lockout lifted, can players go to work on Tuesday?

Yes. Unless and until there is a "stay" of Nelson's ruling pending appeal, her order to end the lockout is in effect. The NFL's Management Council has reportedly told teams to let in players who show up at the stadium but to keep them out of the weight rooms. Players, of course, would want to show up if they have fat offseason workout bonuses. There may be no offseason program to be present for, but it's possible they'll just show for effect just in case. There's a lot to process on the workout bonuses but that's the main reason players would want to be there. Put pressure on the owners to pay them or for the players to allege that the owners should. 2. When will the appeals court rule on whether or not to grant the "stay" Judge Nelson didn't?Dunno. The NFL immediately filed a request for the stay Monday night. ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson said, however, that the way Nelson worded her ruling, a stay by the appeals court seems unlikely. Judge Nelson mentioned the "public interest" several times in her 89-page ruling. My guess? The appellate court's decision on whether or not to grant a stay will come quickly as it's in the public interest to get this moving forward.3. Could the 2011 league year begin soon, meaning free agency starts?That's the biggest question for fans and the football branch of NFL teams (as opposed to the business branch). If the stay is refused, then it would logically follow that business as usual is supposed to begin under the 2010 league rules (no salary cap or floor, six years service for unrestricted free agency, no rookie wage scale, etc). The owners will want to delay thestart of the league year, especially this week. If free agency opens before the draft begins Thursday night, the football folks will be trying to acquire players on two fronts. And player trades - which were suspended during the lockout - would be in play on draft night. Now, this may not be in the best interest of the league as a whole. And it will be interesting if that's weighed by the courts. 4. What's this mean for your New England Patriots?Lots of meetings. Bill Belichick will not want to be caught sitting on his hands when the chance for player acquisition is upon his team. If there is no stay, one would have to expect Belichick to launch his free agency plan immediately. But would the sting of this ruling cause the Krafts to be bitter and reluctant to proceed as if the lockout is over, done and gone before the appeals process has run its course? In short . . . it's getting very complicated. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”