NFL players’ union offers support to Kain Colter’s efforts
BY ADAM L. Jahns Staff Reporter January 30, 2014 9:44PM
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:07PM
NEW YORK — With the media gathered Thursday at the Sheraton Times Square, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith declared again his union’s support of former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and others’ efforts to form a college players’ union.
“You are not alone,” Smith said. “We’re going to be with you 100 percent.”
On Tuesday, Colter, who didn’t make the trip to New York because of ankle surgery, made national headlines, calling the NCAA a dictatorship and announcing the establishment of the College Athletes Players Association.
Smith said it took courage to do so, comparing the effort to the class-action complaint filed in March 2011 by NFL players in response to the owners’ lockout.
“To all of those brave athletes at Northwestern, each of you has decided to stand up for players you may never meet, players you may never know,” Smith said.
Free agency is nearing, but Charles Tillman, the best cornerback in Bears history, has made a guarantee; he will retire a Bear.
“In perfect world, I will finish as a Bear,” Tillman said in a radio interview Wednesday. “I guarantee I will retire a Chicago Bear. I guarantee that.”
Tillman’s contract expires and indications are that the Bears will allow him to test free agency. Tillman made $8 million in 2013 and the Bears can’t afford anything close to that right now, especially after re-signing quarterback Jay Cutler and others.
Tillman, 32, said he talks to the team every day. He also dismissed any notions of bad blood with the organization.
“I’ll put it to you like this,” Tillman said. “The Bears and I are in good spirits. There’s no bad blood. There’s nothing. We’re in good spirits. There’s no bad blood with myself or coach [Marc] Trestman. Like everything is good. We’re all on good terms.”
Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette is the only Seahawks player to reach the Super Bowl before, though as a member of the 49ers last year, he didn’t play in the big game.
Lockette said he “enjoyed” his short stint with the Bears before the team cut him from the practice squad in October. He soon returned for a second stint in Seattle.
“I think I messed myself up [for] different reasons,” he said of the Bears. “I wanted to go home. When I had the opportunity to go home, I wanted to.
“It was just a different feeling. I love the team. I love Coach Trestman, [and] I love [receivers] coach [Mike] Groh.”
Contributing: Patrick Finley