Players' union confirms prospects will not boycott combine


The NFL Players Association officially announced that draft prospects will not boycott next week's NFL Scouting Combine, via a tweet from union spokesman George Atallah on Thursday.

"Players will be at the combine," Atallah wrote on Twitter. "Young men have an opportunity of a lifetime. They are not locked out...yet."

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While a boycott of the Feb. 24-March 1 combine in Indianapolis has been shelved, players skipping April's NFL draft in New York is likely if no collective bargaining agreement is in place by next month.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has individually met with top agents since the Super Bowl to discuss the potential effectiveness of having prospects skip the combine, as well as refusing to participate in any NFL events surrounding April's draft.

The NFLPA will hold its normal meeting with agents on the Friday of combine week, but the union has made this year's meeting mandatory for all agents to have continued certification. In the past, the meeting hasn't been mandatory, but the NFLPA is changing that to emphasize the importance of the situation.

Agents generally must attend one of three NFLPA meetings during the year to maintain their certification.

The union held a conference call Thursday with all players, mainly to discuss health-care details in the event of a lockout.

The call was largely spent explaining options and answering questions about COBRA, which would allow players to continue their current health coverage for an extended period of time by paying more out of pocket.

Players have been given information by the league and from other sources about how to ensure they don't lose coverage should a lockout occur March 4. COBRA benefits could begin to kick in before then, without a lag, if properly set up in advance.

Smith recently has held calls with player representatives, but this was the first time all players had been invited to participate.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.



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