Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth said National Football League players want to secure health and medical care while negotiating a new labor agreement with owners.
Foxworth, a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, said an owners’ plan to extend the regular season to 18 games from 16 needs to come with assurances that players’ bodies will be protected.
“We’re not going to budge on health and safety and we’d like to gain some more ground on how we protect current and retired players,” Foxworth said in a conference call with reporters.
Owners in the U.S.’s most-watched television sport voted in 2008 to opt out of the labor agreement with players after this season, saying the deal doesn’t recognize costs, such as those of building stadiums. Foxworth said the union is preparing for a lockout while trying to reach a new deal before the old one expires in March.
Foxworth said the physical damage that comes with playing football makes it hard for former players to get health care, while the league only provides five years of post-career coverage.
Scott Fujita, a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns who also is an executive committee member, said players are concerned about losing coverage if owners lock them out in March.
Both Foxworth and Fujita said they’d held meetings with teammates, advising them how to save money and get insurance for their families.