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NFLPA may block playoff expansion over injury concerns, workers comp dispute

NFLPA may block expanded playoffs due to injury concerns, workers comp battle NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed the players' concerns with an expanded playoff system. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

While the vast majority of NFL owners are thrilled with the playoff expansion talk that resurfaced in the lead-up to this week's owners meetings, players aren't as overjoyed with the idea.

Additional teams making the postseason would boost revenues for the league's owners, and the NFLPA wants a better commitment to the health of its players if the league is to play more games, executive director DeMaurice Smith told USA Today.

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"Player leadership has consistently made it clear that we do not consider any issue, let alone issues that affect player health and safety, in a vacuum. We have seen the NFL Owners and the League support rollbacks in injury care benefits and loss wage benefits in Louisiana, California and Arizona.

"Their inability to address and resolve these issues among various clubs means that players suffer disparate treatment in a League that disciplines to maintain uniformity. Most recently, the Saints introduced a bill aimed at only professional athletes to reduce players' workers compensation benefits."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he doesn't believe the NFL needs approval from the NFLPA to add additional teams to postseason action, though Smith disagrees, suggesting all changes to player working conditions under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement require negotiation with players.

Last week, USA Today reported that the NFLPA was warning agents against having their players sign with the New Orleans Saints in the light of the workers compensation battle playing out in Louisiana directed specifically at injured professional athletes.

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