Bucs C Faine says 'fair deal,' will have repercussions
Bucs center Jeff Faine was instrumental in helping to formulate the league's new 10-year collective bargaining agreement as one of the 32 team representatives. He also has strong opinions about the implications the deal will have on player safety, free agency and the quality of play.
"It's definitely been some big-time uncertainty and some frustration as well,'' Faine said. "At the same time, there was optimism that we'd get a deal that's fair and we'd get a deal done that's something we'd love to be a part of for 10 years.''
"I think it was very educational, particularly for the owners to be honest. I think they realized as players we can sit at the table and be in a dialogue about business and make great points and have the mind to sit there and negotiate.''
Faine on provisions for limited contact and padded practices in training camp and during the season:
"I'm on the back nine of my career and I'm starting to feel the bumps and aches of my career. It's something where you want to be able to put the best product on the can as a player on the field on Sunday, year in and year out. Some of the steps that we've taken to protect and hopefully lengthen careers, a big portion is eliminating some OTAs, coming in later in the year, part of the reason is so guys fan finish college degrees and the other part is giving the body a real chance to heal from the season.
"The two-a-days portion of it, I know some guys have been more outspoken that they don't like the fact we're going in this direction. But I think it will help lenghen careers and manage the concussion issue. The players aren't built like they were at one point in the past. The guys are so much bigger and stronger and faster. It's not going to slow down.
"Players are just going to get faster and stronger as the body continues to evolve. Eliminating some of the continuous collisions that you take during training camp I think has a lot to do with some of the concussions we have. That will be limited with the way practices are set up with one padded practice a day. To be honest with you, a lot of teams were going that direction anyway.''
On the effect the lockout will have on regular season games:
"This year, I think it's definitely a case where it will affect play. There's no way it can't. It's not the same for us to go through an entire off-season and be together in an organized fashion with other the team's supervision and coaches there. Of course, it will affect the product on the field. Anybody who says it won't is not being real. But I think with our specific situation in Tampa Bay, I was encouraged to see players really took care of themselves. There weren't guys out there who were out of shape. You knew the guys were really investing their time, which is encouraging. Hopefully, it was a carbon copy league-wide. I'm sure it was.''
On the lightning round of free agency that commencing Tuesday:
"A ton of cash is going to go out in the next few days. Not only is it going to be a unique experience from the standpoint that we've got to get out these offers, we've got to put out the best ones we can get out. You've got to put your best offer on the table right away. But you've got to spend a lot more cash this year. This is the best year to ever be a free agent. How many guys are going to hit amazing deals.''