Light: Players' appeal process needs to change

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Light: Players' appeal process needs to change

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- As he will do with every team, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith will meet with the Patriots Thursday at Gillette Stadium to discuss the decertification process in the case of a potential lockout after this season.

And as expected, the players are looking forward to giving their unanimous consent.

"Anytime you have the leadership here and in place, they're here to deliver a message, and to let the guys know what they're thinking, and what we're all thinking, and what we need to be planning for, and what we need to do," said Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light. "So it should be very informative. That's their job, to inform guys of the upcoming battle and what to expect. I think a lot of these guys have been waiting for this for a while. So it's good they're here, and it will be a good meeting."

Light spoke prior to the meeting on Thursday and talked about some of the things that would be brought up. One of his biggest issues, right now, is the players' input, or lack thereof, on fines and suspensions for on-field actions.

"Fairness is a concern," said Light. "I mean, you've got to make sure that these things are fair, that they're measurable, that you can judge them, that it's not just one person's opinion. You have to be able to measure these things up against something else."

Light said the appeal process needs to be fixed, and that the players' union should have more say before the penalty is final.

"One of the biggest problems, the problem I've always had with the whole system, is that they take the money out before you actually have a chance to appeal, or go through an appeal process," said Light. "So that is something that we'll have to address. That's something that definitely needs to be tightened up, and we'll see how it goes from there.

"You can't take a guy's money before he's been found guilty, or had a chance to appeal a decision that's been made," he added. "If it was a drug policy, if a guy gets fined due to drug policy, that money's not removed until the final verdict's come down and that they've had a chance to appeal. It should be the same process with what happens on the field. It's just not, right now."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

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Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him. 
 

Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

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Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.

With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.

Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.

The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.

Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.

With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.

Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”

Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.

“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”

Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."