Former player Sean Gilbert announces run for NFLPA executive directorship
Former NFL player Sean Gilbert has officially announced that he will run for the executive directorship of the NFL Players Association.
Gilbert has spoken of his intentions to run since at least last September. According to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin, Gilbert spent the weekend at the NFL combine in February trying to convince agents to support him.
Current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith faces re-election in March.
On Tuesday, Gilbert released a multi-point platform of proposed changes to league rules and structures. His proposals include a termination (and re-negotiation) of the current collective bargaining agreement, a $1 million minimum salary, a lessening of union dues, a maximum contract length of three years for rookies, the elimination of two preseason games and a rule that teams can use the franchise tag on a player just once in his career.
During his 12-year NFL career as a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders, Gilbert agitated against the franchise tag. He sat out the 1997 season after the Redskins designated him their franchise player and objected when the Redskins franchised him again in 1998, resulting in a hearing and a subsequent trade to the Panthers.
As a "carrot" to league owners, Gilbert is also proposing expansion of the regular season to 18 games, pushing the Super Bowl to Presidents' Day Weekend in February.
Smith, 50, has been the NFLPA's executive director since 2009. He oversaw negotiations for the current CBA in 2011, when the NFL faced the prospect of a lockout.
On Monday, the NFLPA announced an increase in pension benefits for anyone that played between 1993 and 1996. In July, two former players sued the association, claiming it withheld information about the dangers of head injuries.
- Ben Estes