Mankins hopes ruling leads to free agency

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Mankins hopes ruling leads to free agency

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Logan Mankins is a case study in why the mantra of NFL owners has been negotiation, not litigation.

If the players take their antitrust case against the NFL through to conclusion (unlikely, but an arrow they have in their quiver), chances are high that anything restricting the free movement of players will be poof gone.

And that means the franchise tag the Patriots applied to Mankins in February will be a thing of the past.

To be clear, the most likely endgame to all this huffing and puffing will be a new CBA thats player-friendly and agreed upon without interruption of games.

Even though there are rogue voices among agents and lawyers that want the draft, franchise tags and anything else restricting movement to disappear the ushering in of a true free-market system cooler heads will prevail on the players side.

But until those heads do prevail, and until the owners stand down somewhat, the players can remain locked, loaded and ready to take their very solid case to its conclusion.

During Matt Lights Lockout Breakfast on Tuesday morning at the Liberty Hotel, Mankins told the gathering, Ive heard theres this thing called free agency. Its been two years since his rookie contract expired and I havent seen it. Maybe one of these days I could actually experience that.

Sources on both sides of the labor fence have told me that the franchise tag will almost certainly be a part of the next CBA. It might have some alterations, but it will be there. The reason? The players arent going to go to the mat to have the tag removed from the CBA since it affects such a small and generally well-compensated portion of their constituency. It will be a concession the players make to extract more from the owners on another front.

Thats why all the speculation and hand-wringing about whether or not Mankins will be a Patriot is in truth wasted effort. Wheres he going to go? Whats he going to do? He plays football for New England or not at all.

Unless the players push through with litigation and any measure that unilaterally binds employees to employers is abolished.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.

“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.” 

Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.

“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”

Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."
 

Where is Roger? Not in Foxboro . . . again

Where is Roger? Not in Foxboro . . . again

After speculation and “Do it; you won’t” cries from Patriots fans as to whether Roger Goodell would show his face at Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship, we’ve now got our answer: When the Patriots and Steelers kick off Sunday in Foxboro, the commissioner will be 1,045 miles away. 

Goodell will reportedly attend the NFC Championship Sunday in Atlanta, continuing his absence from Patriots home games since the start of Deflategate. For those inclined to call it merely a coincidence, Goodell was in Atlanta last week for the Falcons and Seahawks. This will be two straight weeks of Atlanta -- with a trip to Kansas City for Chiefs-Steelers mixed in -- and still no New England. 

Tom Brady, whom Goodell suspended for four games over the ball-deflating scandal, was asked on WEEI Monday about the possibility of Goodell attending a game in New England. 

“He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do,” Brady said on Kirk and Callahan. “If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come.”

Asked if he wanted Goodell at the game, Brady replied, “He can go wherever he wants to go. Whoever is at the game is at the game.”

Equally popular as the will-Goodell-ever-go-back-to-Gillette discussion has been that of how Patriots fans would react. Last week, something of a light feud between Michael Felger and Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy took place over what kind of behavior towards the commissioner is acceptable. 

That all remains a moot point, however, as Goodell won’t need to worry about being berated, spit on or anything else. Any of that will continue to be put off for as long as he stays away from Gillette.