NFL roundup: Players union files suit, accuses owners of collusion

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that accused NFL owners and the league of collusion during the 2010 NFL season.
The complaint describes a conspiracy in which teams "imposed a secret $123 million per-club salary cap for that uncapped 2010 season. Filed in in the United States District Court of Minnesota, it alleges that the league and owners "acted illegally and solely by self-interest, unconstrained by their clear and unambiguous SSA obligations."
"When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act. We cannot standby when we now know that the owners conspired to collude," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.
New York Giants owner John Mara, who also serves as the Chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, is cited in the complaint as publicly confirming that the league told teams to restrict players' salaries in the uncapped year.
In response to the complaint, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: "The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately, by an agreement signed by the players' attorneys last August. The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed."

---San Francisco 49ers' punter Andy Lee signed a six-year extension that will take him through the 2018 season.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, Lee has been one of the league's most productive punters. In 2011, he set the NFL single-season record in net punting average, at 44 yards.

---Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer predicted the NFL's proposed rule to make knee and thigh pads mandatory by 2013 will be a costly one.
That's because players, he believes, will opt for uniform violation fines over wearing extra padding that is required at all other levels of football.
The NFL plans to introduce lightweight, built-in knee and thigh pads as a new player-safety initiative. Jammer himself said he would not wear leg padding because of the belief that it restricts movement and slows players down.
"There'll probably be a lot of fines in 2013," Jammer told the Times-Union. "A lot of guys won't wear them."
The rule must be collectively bargained with the players union.

---Denver acquired fullback Chris Gronkowski from the Indianapolis Colts for cornerback Cassius Vaughn, the Broncos announced.
Gronkowski, 25, has played in 21 games during a three-year career. He has five career rushes for 17 yards and seven receptions for 35 yards with a touchdown.
Gronkowski has two brothers on NFL rosters: Dan, a tight end with the Cleveland Browns, and Rob, a tight end for the New England Patriots.

---The Green Bay Packers promoted John Dorsey to director of football operations, one of several announced promotions and additions to their player personnel department.
John Dorsey is entering his 22nd season in NFL personnel. He has previously served as a college scout and director of college scouting for the Packers and as director of player personnel for the Seattle Seahawks.
Eliot Wolf (director of pro personnel), Brian Gutekunst (director of college scouting), Alonzo Highsmith (senior personnel executive) also received promotions.

---Packers wide receiver Donald Driver and partner Peta Murgatroyd are Cha-cha-cha champions of "Dancing with the Stars."
Driver, entering his 14th season in the NFL, was one of three celebrity finalists to reach Tuesday night's finale. During his final break, a recorded message from coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews was shown on the air.
Driver is the third NFL player to win the competition. Hines Ward and Emmitt Smith won and others, including Warren Sapp, have participated.
The 37-year-old wide receiver is reportedly in a battle for his roster spot with the Packers even though he began last season as a starter.

---The Dallas Cowboys' window for contending is closing, and Jerry Jones sees it.
The team's owner told the NFL Network that he is concerned about wasting the prime years for some of his players.
"My window is getting shorter. Time goes by," Jones told NFL Network. "I do feel real pressure because we do have players not only in (quarterback) Tony Romo, but (tight end) Jason Witten (and outside linebacker) DeMarcus Ware, to leave out several that are (also) in the prime of their career. And we need to strike and strike soon with those guys.
"(Coach) Jason Garrett feels exactly the same way about it and understands how urgent it is. Candidly, you're looking through rose-colored glasses if we all don't realize that now is the time to compete on the field."

---The Patriots signed first-round pick Chandler Jones, the player New England traded up six spots to acquire in the draft with the expectation he can ultimately become an every-down pass rusher in coach Bill Belichick's multiple-front defense.
Jones signed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year, as is customary for first-round picks under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

---The New York Jets signed fullback Fui Vakapuna. He originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009.. He spent the 2010 season on Cincinnati's injured reserve list due to a shoulder injury before spending a portion of 2011 on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad.

--The Chicago Bears signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year contract. Collins has appeared in 13 games over two seasons (2010-11) with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

---Running back Dan Herron, a sixth-round pick out of Ohio State, signed with the Bengals. Terms were not disclosed.
Herron averaged 4.9 yards per carry during his Buckeye career, and is 10th in school history with 2,869 career rushing yards.

---The Colts signed outside linebacker Jerry Brown and waived linebacker Brandon Peguese.
Brown played at the University of Illinois, where he had just 13 tackles. But he hooked on with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League in 2011 before joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He returned to the AFL this year, playing in 10 games for the San Antonio Talons before joining the Colts.

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