INDIANAPOLIS -- David Cornwell has sent an 11-page letter to all fellow agents, detailing flaws in DeMaurice Smith's candidacy for NFL Players Association executive leadership.
Smith's contract is up in March, and Cornwell, a longtime attorney and agent who opposed Smith for the NFLPA executive director job after Gene Upshaw's 2008 death, has sent a memo around the league making a case against renewing Smith's contract.
"Despite my greatest hopes, my personal experience reveals that (Smith's) vision in 2008 was little more than an inside Washington political campaign -- high on style, low on substance," Cornwell wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained. "(His) grandiose pronouncements did not translate into meaningful progress in the business of playing football. Rather than advancing the partnership between players and team owners, the new 10 year CBA relegated NFL players' status to mere employees."
The memo criticizes economic issues within the new collective bargaining agreement and takes issue with Smith and the NFLPA for how they handled Terrelle Pryor's eligibility for the supplemental draft and with what Cornwell believes is lax enforcement of regulations regarding poaching clients from rival agents.
The memo alleges that Smith accepted a five-game suspension for Pryor without discussing his decision with Cornwell or the player, and the NFLPA then told members of the media it had urged Cornwell to reject the deal.
"The NFLPA's spin campaign distancing itself from (Smith's) acceptance of the five-game suspension and (his) effort to explain to some players why the suspension should not be appealed was baffling and deceptive," Cornwell wrote in the memo. "Despite his repeated public statements that he would fight for the men who play the game, Terrelle's situation was the first of multiple situations in which (Smith) fell far short of his promise to fight on behalf of all players, not just the perfect ones."
The matter ultimately will be decided by a player vote, and Smith is widely expected to continue his tenure atop the union.