DENVER — Place the players union conference call among Brandon McManus’ many clutch contributions.
With healthy debate on the players conference call Friday over the owners’ 17-game proposal, it was McManus – the Broncos’ placekicker and player rep – who spoke up and suggested a face-to-face meeting with everyone next week during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis to better read the room.
"We tried to create another solution for people who were potentially on the fence," McManus said a couple hours after the union conference call Friday. "This way they don’t make a rash decision over the phone and instead they get a chance to vocalize face to face and feel comfortable knowing they exhausted every option possible."
McManus said it was difficult to guess how the players would have voted on the 17-game proposal had they delivered their yay’s or nay’s as planned.
"Not everyone spoke so I couldn’t tell you," said McManus, who has six career game-winning or tying field goals in the final 2 minutes of a game. "But you could probably base the room off of what the ‘EC’ voted and it was 6 to 5, so that’s pretty much what I would guess the room was like."
The ‘EC’ is the 11-person executive committee which includes players like Richard Sherman, Russell Okung, Ben Watson, Zak DeOssie, Lorenzo Alexander and Adam Vinatieri, among others.
Before the conference call began, the executive committee voted 6-5 against the owners’ 17-game proposal.
Then came the conference call.
"On a conference call you can’t get everyone’s voice heard," McManus said. "This is almost a third door. ‘Yes,’ you approve the deal. ‘No,’ it’s pretty much going to end in a lockout or a strike. And this third option gives us four or five more days to get a real face-to-face interaction. And it can be handled right there."
If the players vote to approve the owners proposal in Indy next week, the 17-game schedule wouldn’t start until 2021 or 2022. The expanded playoff format from 12 to 14 teams, though, would start in 2020.
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