After this long football drought, could the end be near with the collective bargaining agreement? According to WWL (via ESPN), this is the schedule for the rest of the week:
Monday -- Vote by NFLPA's Executive Committee and player reps on whether to recommend approval of the new CBA; Wednesday -- players from some teams report to team facilities and vote to recertify as a union and accept the new CBA (at this point, teams can start contract talks with own players, including agents and draftees, if there are enough player votes to pass it); Friday -- remaining players can report to team facilities and vote on recertification; Saturday -- free agency begins.
Watching this story unfold over the last few months, I've received the distinct impression that we are watching a bad reality tv show. Cat fights have developed. Some participants have acted like petulant brats (whenever I think of Jerry Jones, I automatically think of Teresa from Real Housewives of New Jersey, bruh). And, both sides have toyed with our football emotions, waiting until the last possible minute to agree to the terms. While I side with one group over the other, I have a bitter taste in my mouth regarding both and feel like I've been watching this.
All I want is my beloved boys in the black and gold.
I have barely hung on this summer with the lack of training camp, appearances, and all the goodies that the offseason offers. Friends have tried to entice me with baseball, but since I don't recognize it as a sport, I cannot willingly watch something that boring (this includes golf as well). Hell, I found myself watching Canadian football earlier this summer. That's like switching out Jerseylicious for Toddlers and Tiaras.
Desperate for football and Saints players, I headed over to the Sharper-Harper Football Camp to check out their clinic for local kids at East Jeff High School earlier this week. The CBA and free agency were on everyone's minds. Although both Sharper and Harper are confident that they would be picked up elsewhere, both want to return as Saints.
"I would like to come back," commented Darren Sharper. "But I'd also like to play somewhere that I'm going to be happy. I know I'll be happy in New Orleans, but you never know. It could be another situation, another opportunity that makes me happier, and you have to weigh those decisions."
Worrying about the possibility of uprooting and moving their families so close to the beginning of the school year and with their careers in the air, both Sharper and Harper set aside their concerns and focused on giving back to the community. Not only are these men outstanding football players but also citizens.
Over a hundred kids showed up for the event. In addition to those who paid, Sharper and Harper offered scholarships to those who couldn't afford the event. Each camper received an Official Nike Camp T-shirt, a photo with both Darren and Roman, a pair of Nike football cleats, lunch provided by Copeland's of New Orleans and Second Harvest Food Bank, and two days of instruction from some of the industry's best. Proceeds of the camp benefited both Harper's Hope 4*1 Foundation, Roman Harper's foundation, and The Sharper Kids Foundation, Darren Sharper's foundation.
The kids, oblivious to the drama surrounding the players that day, focused on playing some football and seeing their favorite athletes. And, in the end, isn't that what it's all about? Playing some football? Over the next few days, let's hope that both sides come to terms and get back to the real drama at hand -- the Saints regaining their title.
This article is cross-published at Chicks in the Huddle, a website for female football fans
Follow Melissa Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MelissaLeeSmith