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NFL Players Union Discussing Scouting Combine Boycott

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Major Wright at NFL Combine

Major Wright at NFL Combine (photo credit: Getty Images)

The push for a collective bargain agreement for the NFL could jeopardize college students looking start their NFL career.

The NFL players union has discussed a boycott of the scouting combine later this month with player agents.

Several people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Friday that the union suggested keeping potential 2011 draft picks away from the combine in Indianapolis and from other draft-related activities while there is no collective bargaining agreement. The people spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to give out the information.

Such a boycott could jeopardize the draft status of those players, who are not yet members of the union. And with CBA negotiations including a possible rookie wage scale, such a move could be detrimental to college players entering the league.

NFL Network first reported the story.

“We have no knowledge of any such discussions,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP in an e-mail.

The union is hopeful such a boycott would disrupt teams’ scouting of college players, but it’s unlikely to get widespread support from the agents whose first duty is helping their clients get selected high in the draft.

Those agents already are upset about the rookie wage scale proposed by the owners for a new CBA; the current agreement expires March 3. Such a scale would severely limit the bargaining power for first-round picks in particular. The likelihood of anyone approaching Sam Bradford’s record $50 million guaranteed in his rookie contract with the Rams last summer would be nil.

The draft is April 28-30 in New York, and union officials would like for college players to skip those proceedings if there is no CBA, particularly if the league has locked out the players.

Teams will hold workouts for prospects throughout March and April leading up to the draft, and the NFLPA is urging agents to consider boycotting those, as well.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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