Former Buffalo Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett is speaking out on the NFL lockout. Bennett was elected chairman of the NFLPA's Board of Former Players in March and has used that platform previously to discuss the work stoppage. He wrote an article for the Buffalo News this morning detailing his thoughts.
The former player cites small market teams and their viability as instrumental in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"Fans should know that players want the Bills to stay in Buffalo," wrote Bennett. "Players want to preserve revenue sharing that allows for competitive balance year in, year out. Players fought to keep the supplemental revenue sharing plan in place because the league opted out of it."
Bennett also talked about the impact the lockout is having on young players and the Bills with their young core.
"The team has a bright future and some good, young players. But as the owner-imposed lockout continues hanging over our great game — and more time is missed — it can impede that chance for growth. Even head coach Mike McCarthy of the Super Bowl champion Packers said Tuesday, 'The lockout is definitely a detriment to the development of young players in the NFL.'"
The NFLPA and Bennett want the NFL to lift the lockout so players can get back to business at hand while the two sides work out an agreement. "Why can’t the owners lift the lockout today so we can watch our beloved team grow on the field, while the sides resolve our business differences off of it?" asked Bennett.
While discussing his love of Buffalo, he cites Thurman Thomas and Jim Kelly's residence in the area as well as the special connection between a city and their players.
"I was in those negotiation sessions representing the interests of former players but also looking out for my Bills franchise that I love so much. Players want to play, but we also want what’s fair for the game. We believe in the connection between a city, its players and its team. A lockout erodes that connection."
Bennett's thoughts center around how the Bills and Buffalo are intermingled and how that relationship is being hurt by the lockout.
"I still enjoy interacting with Bills fans who remember our Super Bowl seasons, which reminds me how important the team is to Buffalo," said Bennett. He continued, talking about his former teammates: "We all get together with regularity at our meetings and we take great satisfaction in having played for that proud franchise."
This public relations move isn't likely to help the NFLPA's position with the fans all that much but it's still nice to hear great things about your city and team from great former players.