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Smith, Strahan think players might crack if they miss checks

Former defensive end Michael Strahan is one of

Former defensive end Michael Strahan is one of 30 players who will be inducted into the Giants' Ring of Fame at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Credit: AP

Between last night’s event with Kevin Gilbride in New Jersey and this afternoon’s event with Michael Strahan and Steve Smith in Manhattan, it was almost like there was actually football for a few golden hours this offseason. Plenty to write about. Let’s get into it.

Thanks to decertification, the NFL Players’ Association is no longer a union in name. But some believe that if a lockout lasts into the fall, it could stop being a union in spirit as well.

Smith and Strahan both suggested yesterday that if players have to miss paychecks, it will be difficult to keep their group together.

“Financially we all know that the owners can outlast the players,” Strahan said at an event for Vaseline MEN at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. “That could be one of the keys. The union is tight now, the players are in it together, but if it goes into the regular season and you start to miss some serious checks … I think that’s one of those interesting times. You’ll see just how strong the players are and how much they’ll be able to hold together.”

“I think it’ll be tough once guys are losing game checks, losing actual money,” said Smith at the same event. “I think that’s when it’s going to get tough and we’ll see what guys are going to do.”

Smith said he believes the issue will be settled before that, and he thinks the 2010 rules will be in place for the 2011 season. That would make him a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted one. “It wouldn’t be good,” he said. He wants a really big, long-term contract, not a kinda-big, one-year tender.

Of course, if there’s no football it won’t matter.

And while the players may be unified now, the longer the lockout lasts the more they’re likely to start bickering and falling apart.

“I would be afraid of Twitter,” Strahan said. “Guys say things on Twitter as if they’re talking to their best friend … I don’t think too many guys are worried about it now because it hasn’t hit the regular season. Hopefully it doesn’t. But if it does, then I think you’ll hear a lot more chatter than we hear right now about getting this thing done.”

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