In his role as the Jets' player rep, Brandon Moore serves as the conduit between his teammates and the NFLPA's executive committee. For nearly five months, Moore has been in the middle of the fray, living the lockout on a day-to-day basis. So it came as no surprise Monday when Moore called the settlement "a big, big, huge sigh of relief."
Moore said the players will benefit from "huge gains" in the proposed collective bargaining agreement. The stepped-up emphasis on player safety, he said, may be the biggest positive.
"Everybody will be talking about the cash, but the one thing that gets overlooked is the rule about training camp, no two-a-days, the reduction in padded practices -- all that stuff that will protect the guys," Moore told ESPNNewYork.com. "All that was huge for the guys; it wasn't negotiable. I also think it could help change the way they do things in college and high school. It will have a positive impact. The product will be better on Sunday because guys will be rested and refreshed."
Ironically, one of Moore's teammates -- Bart Scott -- came out last week and blasted the elimination of two-a-days, denouncing it as a wimpy move that will make players soft. Moore said he spoke to Scott about those comments. He said Scott indicated some of it was taken out of context. He tried to impress upon Scott that the new rules are designed to protect them from coaches that push the envelope, overworking players.
In the CBA negotiations, the new rules became known as "The Mangini Rules," a reference to former Jets and Browns coach Eric Mangini. He was known for his relentless (some might say draconian) style.
"Rex (Ryan) runs a good team and he takes care of his players, but a lot of coaches didn't adhere to the rules," Moore said. "These new rules protect the guys that don't have a Rex Ryan or Tony Dungy as their coach. It protects you from a lot of unnecessary hitting."
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One of the unsung heroes of the labor negotiation was Jets FB Tony Richardson, a member of the NFLPA executive committee. There's a good chance that Richardson, 39, will announce his retirement in the coming weeks (he's an unrestricted free agent), but he worked tirelessly throughout the process to help the players achieve a favorable agreement.
"He told us many times in the room that he's not even going to benefit from this (new CBA), but he worked selflessly," Moore said. "The guys should be proud of their leaders, players that negotiated face to face with the owners for the first time in history. I hope that, when I'm on the way out, we have leaders like that, that will fight for the players like he did. T-Rich was fighting for guys when they didn't even realize he was fighting for them."
If this was Richardson's last act as an active player, it was a heck of a way to go out.