Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, the team’s player rep along with linebacker Coy Wire, spent two days earlier this week in New York in the midst of the NFL labor negotiations.
Both sides are under orders not to discuss details of the talks and could be fined. But, Clabo, in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed his trip to the negotiating table.
“I can tell you that when they come out and say that everybody is working really hard, they really are working really hard,” Clabo said. “When I was sitting at home and would hear that everybody is working really hard, I’d say, ‘they can’t be working really too hard because nothing is getting done.’ That is not true. Everyone up there is working really hard to get a deal done. I can say that I’ve really learned a lot from this whole process after being up there.”
He described the process as being “slow and tedious” and is not sure if things will be wrapped up in time for there to be a ratification vote at a special league meeting Thursday at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
“I just don’t know,” Clabo said. “If they have something to vote on, I’m sure they will. It’s just a matter of if there is anything to vote on. But I don’t know their plans as far as the voting. There is just no way of knowing how they are going to get it resolved.”
Clabo was more than happy to get an up close look at the negotiations. He’s had his doubts, while sitting at home.
“[NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith] usually does a conference call and usually what he can tell us is pretty vague because of the gag order,” Clabo said. “He gives us a very brief and very limited overview of what’s going on. He basically just tells us that progress is being made and to just kind of hang in there. That’s really all that we can do anyway. He just really tries to reassure us that the work is getting done, or that there’s an attempt to get the work done.”
And, as the player representative, Clabo duty calls for him to share that message with the rest of the team.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog