Seahawks are torn over adding extra games
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is against the NFL adding two more games, while cornerback Marcus Trufant thinks it's a good idea
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is eager to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18, but players are split on the issue.
Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is against adding more games while cornerback Marcus Trufant believes it's a good idea.
"Eighteen games would be a lot tougher physically for the players," Hasselbeck said. "No doubt about that. I was with a lot of the big guys, offensive and defensive linemen, when I first heard that and it was mind boggling to them because it is so physical, especially up front.
"I haven't met a player that likes the sound of that or thinks that's a fair trade."
Trufant took a different stance.
"I'd be for it just because it's more football," he said. "More opportunities. More for the fans. And just more time for guys to get out and play."
If Goodell has his way, the exhibition season would have ended last week and the Seahawks would be preparing to start the regular season against San Francisco instead of flying to Minnesota on Saturday for their third exhibition game.
During a five-hour meeting Wednesday in Atlanta, the league's owners discussed adding two more games to the regular season. Goodell is targeting 2012 to begin the enhanced schedule and wants to implement the change in the collective-bargaining agreement, which expires after the season.
The existing labor deal gives owners ability to add regular-season games, but compensation would have to be negotiated with the players union.
The owners did not vote on a specific proposal Wednesday to present to the union because several issues need to be resolved, including increasing the roster size to accommodate more games, potentially adding an extra bye week to the schedule, changing injured reserve rules and deciding when to start the regular season.
"We want to understand the impact of whether we're playing cold-weather games in January or we're playing hot-weather games in September," Goodell told reporters in Atlanta.
The owners would like to keep the season at 20 weeks, reducing the number of exhibition games from four to two. They believe the extra regular-season games would increase television revenue.
Meanwhile, the players want a bigger piece of the multi-billion-dollar NFL pie if they're going to be putting their bodies on the line in two more games that count.
"It's more football so it's more of a chance of getting injured, but the other argument is it's more games and more fans and more people coming to the games," Trufant said. "More fans means more revenue for the league in general and I'm expecting more pay for the players."
The expansion issue appears to be a thorny topic as the NFLPA and owners prepare for collective bargaining negotiations and the possibility owners might enforce a lockout in 2011.
"I am very hopeful that everyone can work something out," Hasselbeck said. "I think everything is really good. I know that on the player side, we want to play. If we have to make a sacrifice like that, then I for one would be willing to make a sacrifice.
"But there's got to be a trade off there. I don't know exactly what that would be. Whether it is health care later in life or whatever. Something has to be win-win there."
• G Ben Hamilton, who practiced at center with the reserves Tuesday, did not participate in Wednesday's drill and had bags of ice wrapped around his right knee. With rookie OT Russell Okung (high right ankle sprain) out, the starting left side of the offensive line appears to be OT Mansfield Wrotto and G Mike Gibson.
• T Chester Pitts was on the field, but was limited. Other players sidelined included: LB David Hawthorne (undisclosed), LB Leroy Hill (sprained knee), DT Kentwan Balmer (bruised ankle), DE Nick Reed (knee), OT Ray Willis (knee) and CB Josh Pinkard (knee). TE Cameron Morrah (undisclosed) was not at practice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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