Q: Is there a reason why August 4th was thrown out there as the date?
A: You have a free agent market and it was fairly narrow this year, so that gives enough time for teams to figure out who they have and what needs they have coming into training camp. It was a good window for everyone to get situated, for free agents to get settled, but also for us to have some time to get this deal right.
Q: If this isn't agreed upon and signed by tomorrow, will players come to work on Friday?
A: Yes, because the free agents will remain on the sidelines, remain at all of the meetings, just as it is now, but I can't see it going any further than a couple of days. But this is all speculation and again it's a deadline, albeit a soft deadline, but both sides have a vested interest in getting this deal done as soon as possible and it looks great.
Q: What was your level of involvement with the talks?
A: I was the third string rep as you would look at it. Shaun O'Hara took the reins as our rep for the New York Giants. And then there was Kareem McKenzie. But Shaun and I were down there for the annual meetings in [Florida]. This is my first year as a rep, but a good year to come in and get thrown into the fire. I learned a lot about the business side that I never knew about. It was a good experience.
Q: Has there been any hiccups up until this point in the last year?
A: No. We're negotiating, that's all. Everything we negotiated is a hiccup. We're just trying to meet in the middle somewhere and get this deal done. Again, everyone has their vested interest and everyone's best interest at heart. We look forward to tonight.
Q: Who is the rep now?
A: Kareem [McKenzie] is the official rep now that Shaun [O'Hara] is gone and I am a second stringer. We'll re-vote and there's one rep and the alternate, that's how it works. Hopefully I'm still voted as one of the reps.
Q: What were you working on in this CBA?
A: I don't have enough time to sit here and tell you, I have to go eat lunch. There's a couple of things that we're working on and basically the major hiccup is just working on the benefits and making sure we meet in the middle somewhere there. We've always had great benefits. Obviously, inherently we would like more. You guys want the best benefits you can get and we're there. We're almost there.
Q: Re: HGH
A: It is what it is. I don't think that's a hiccup at all. It's going to come into play, in who knows when, but I don't think that's what's stalling this right now.
Q: How do the players vote?
A: The rep for each team.
Q: It's just the rep there, making the vote?
A: Exactly. We'll collect the information from what they say in the deal and we'll vote. We have our guys down there working for us and they tell us when it's a good deal or not a good deal and make sure they give us all of the points and then we move forward and make a phone call.
Q: Re: Osi Umenyiora
A: I think it's a matter of circumstances. I don't think you'll see that in years to come. It's just how everything panned out this year and he has his motives. We wish the best of him. It is what it is. It's just where it stands this year. It's an awkward year with free agency and that's how it panned out.
Q: Do your teammates vote?
A: We do. We take an essential poll. It's a yes or no. We go through all of the points and if anyone has any questions we hash it out and move on.
Q: Are you surprised that contracts not being guaranteed wasn't more of an issue during the CBA negotiations?
A: We try and work our leverage with every new CBA deal on how contracts work out and we are where we are and we get the best deal we can leverage. The fact of the matter is that we choose to play this game and choose to sign on the dotted line. Whether you wait for free agency or sign for peace of mind, whatever your reasons might be, you signed the deal. But again, if you play well enough that you deserve more money, you have all the right to do whatever it is you feel the need to do to get that money. When push comes to shove, we're in the highest earning potential of our lives, most of us, and you have to make the most of it. It's completely justified.