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The NFL, Discipline, and the CBA (1 Viewer)


Although this is an article about Terrell Owens, much of what Clayton writes is about a bigger subject ----- changes in the new CBA about player discipline. It's a good read. My apologies if it's been posted before.

John Clayton article

• Teams can't get back signing-bonus money if a player voluntarily retires; that has to be negotiated into a player's contract. In the past, teams could ask a player to pay back the proration of the remaining part of his contract if he retires in the early stages or in the middle of the contract .

• A player can lose only 25 percent of his signing bonus that year if he acts in a way that "undermines his ability to fully participate in an exhibition game or a regular season game." A second occurrence could cost him the remaining 75 percent, but how many players get two Terrell Owens-like suspensions?

• Teams can't do a Ricky Williams and go back and collect signing bonuses, performance bonuses or escalators earned in past years. Williams quit the Dolphins to live a temporary life of smoking dope and healing holistically. The Dolphins gave him an $8.4 million bill because of the forfeiture language in his contract. Not anymore.

• If a player retires and skips a good portion of the season against a team's wishes, the team must take him back under his existing contract and can't force him to give back any of the signing bonus. If the team wants to fight him for portions of the signing bonus, it has to release him and give him a chance to find another team.

• A player can't be ordered to lose signing-bonus money if he fails to participate in voluntary offseason workouts. Players can't lose portions of their signing bonuses if they make adverse public statements. That's right: The NFLPA won back the conduct rule the Cincinnati Bengals tried to implement when Corey Dillon and Carl Pickens blasted the team. The Bengals had written contracts that forced players to pay back their signing bonuses if they blasted the team.

• The new CBA prohibits teams from inserting forfeiture clauses for violations of the NFL drug and steroids policy. A player loses game checks if he is suspended by the league, but the league can't get back more money than the pay for the games he misses.

Clearly, this isn't a "Get Out of Jail" card, but it's a major win for players, and T.O. is a big beneficiary.
Owens' release Tuesday will put him in the spotlight for the next month while he milks the publicity machine to find a new home. Agent Drew Rosenhaus knows T.O.'s market is limited to the Cowboys and Broncos at the start, so he will take a month to build more interest, and that will probably happen.

Owens will go to a new team, and he knows teams can't negotiate too many penalty clauses into his contract. Certainly, it will be hard for him to get a lot of guarantees. Owens isn't a bad guy, but he's all about Owens. That won't change.

But teams know they can't do much financially to discipline him if he acts up, and his chances of acting up under an incentive-laden contract are high. If he doesn't like it, he can try to force a trade or a release.

It's "buyer beware" for the team that gets him; good luck trying to discipline him if he acts up.

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