NFL spokesman Greg Aiello denied a report alleging that league employees are attempting to sabotage the NFL Players Association's planned draft event in New York.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that -- according to agents for some of the top draft prospects -- team scouts, personnel men and assistant coaches are telling them their clients should stay away from the NFLPA event. According to Freeman, the agents are particularly upset with the involvement of "one of the lead draft analysts for NFL.com."
Aiello confirmed that Freeman likely is referring to Gil Brandt, who has assisted the NFL since 1995 in inviting the top prospects to New York. Aiello spoke to Brandt on Tuesday morning and was confident Brandt has "never told any of the players they would not be allowed to attend the draft and walk on stage with the commissioner, as the story claims."
Aiello added that the league isn't aware of any similar statements being made by club personnel.
"The bottom line is that the league is not trying to discourage players from attending NFLPA events," Aiello said. "If someone has specific information to the contrary, we would be interested in knowing about it."
The NFLPA announced Monday its plans for draft weekend festivities, which will not directly conflict with the first two days of the 2011 NFL Draft itself.
The trade association will hold a welcome dinner at a Times Square hotel April 28, which will go from 4 to 6 p.m. ET and give draft-eligible players ample time to makeit to Radio City Music Hall for the 8 p.m. start of the draft. On Friday, the NFLPA will host interviews with the players, a lunch and reception and dinner, which will wrap up at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the players will hold a morning clinic in Harlem and have a wrap party at Cipriani Wall Street.
In its release, the NFLPA included 20 rookies and 24 veterans or retired players as participants.
The rookie group consisted of Prince Amukamara (Nebraska), Marvin Austin (North Carolina), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Nick Fairley (Auburn), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), A.J. Green (Georgia), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Julio Jones (Alabama), Cameron Jordan (Cal), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Corey Liuget (Illinois), Von Miller (Texas A&M), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Cam Newton (Auburn), Patrick Peterson (LSU), Robert Quinn (North Carolina), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Daniel Thomas (Kansas State), and J.J. Watt (Wisconsin).
The veteran/retired group is headlined by Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.