6:51 PM ET
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Don’t hold your breath waiting for an 18-game NFL regular season unless the players’ association has a major change of heart.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith spoke with ESPN on Friday at a union-led gathering of former players to discuss a variety of topics, including negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement, the power of players using their voices and making their own economic decisions, and of course, the topic that won’t go away — an 18-game season.
Smith confirmed that the NFL raised the idea of such a schedule in early labor negotiations, as the Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday, with indications that it isn’t something he sees happening.
“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith said. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”
Significant questions remain about the 18/16 proposal — which would put 18 games on teams’ schedules but limit individual players to playing in a maximum of 16 of them — including how the