A LITTLE WHILE later, eight players from five teams — linebacker Jonathan Casillas of the New York Giants, safety Devin McCourty and special teams star Matthew Slater of the Patriots, defensive end Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Christian Kirksey, cornerback Jason McCourty, and tight end Randall Telfer of the Cleveland Browns, and offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum of the Jets — entered the League Boardroom at the NFL offices and took seats at the giant wood table with the league logo as its centerpiece.
The meeting itself was representative of not only the entire week but of the past few years, defined by discord and distrust on the issues separating the league and the union. Smith said last week that Goodell never mentioned the meeting with players during their Monday call, and that he first got word of it after hearing that Troy Vincent, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, had reached out directly to at least a dozen team captains to invite them to attend. A league source, however, says that team owners, not Vincent, invited the players, at the suggestion of Goodell. Both sides agree that Smith and other union executives were not invited until Tuesday morning, when Goodell asked them to attend in an email. But by then, it was too late. Smith was on the road for a series of locker room meetings and couldn’t attend.
Derek Carr’s latest back injury is a stunner, one that could end their playoff hopes early this season after a different Carr injury dashed them late last season. It’s now on their other on-field leader, Khalil Mack, to help the defense win more games.
That’s two straight big games for Russell Wilson as the Seahawks have gone back to their versatile, high-tempo attack to mask more of their line deficiencies. They should hope the Colts game also jump-started their defensive intimidation.