Local NFL players want to get back to work

2011-04-16T22:00:00Z 2012-11-29T18:44:16Z Local NFL players want to get back to workBy Mike Nieto, (219) 933-3232
April 16, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

HARVEY | Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El would love to get back to the Super Bowl and come away with a win.

The Steelers lost 31-25 to the Green Bay Packers in February.

They would also love to just get back to work.

With the NFL owners locking out the players, the players are working out on their own. Randle El and several current former NFL players played Saturday in the McLegends basketball game at Thornton High School. The high school seniors won 123-122 in overtime. In the women's game, the Lady McLegends won 105-68.

"It is a unique situation, but we are hoping everything is resolved before (training) camp begins," Mendenhall said. "We want to get back to work, but for now, we are working out on our own."

Randle El, who starred at Thornton High School and Indiana University, said he has been in contact with teammates, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Randle El said he would just like to get back to work.

"Last year, we had a camp on April 18," Randle El said. "I have been working out, but it is not the same as being together as a team."

Thornton grad and former Indianapolis Colts defensive back Jermaine Hampton, said it comes down to a couple of things.

"Put a salary cap on the rookies and remove it for the veterans and give guaranteed contracts," Hampton said. "Then the owners could have what they want."

There are several issues which need to be addressed and solved. One is increasing the regular season to 18 games. The owners want to cut the players percentage of the revenue sharing.

"The owners say they want to protect us from injuries and and concussions, but they want to add two more games," Randle El said. "How is that making it safer for us? Eighteen games. We went to the Super Bowl and with four preseason games, we played for 27 weeks. Add two more games and that's 29 weeks. Going to the super Bowl is like a reward and a punishment.

"I'm 31 and how much beating can your body take? With the younger guys, it will catch up to them. They cannot play 10-12 years if they are playing 18 games a year.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant said that working on his own is not the same.

"You need that team chemistry, the reps and game-like situations," Avant said. "I would think things could be worked out."

Curtis Randle El, Antwaan's brother, who lives in Pittsburgh said the city is pretty negative toward the players despite their being AFC champs.

"They think the players are asking for too much money," Curtis Randle El said. "They see it as a greed thing, but on who's part? The players are just asking for their fair share of the revenue."

Other NFL players participating in the game for the McLegends were: D.J. Moore (Bears); Marquice Cole (New York Jets) and Tim Jamison (Houston Texas). Thornton grads Sammy Williams, Winfield Garnett and Napoleon Harris also played.

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