Matthew Slater says NFLPA remains 'very conscious' of player safety issues

Mike Petraglia
December 04, 2015 - 12:46 pm
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[caption id="attachment_94913" align="alignright" width="150"]Matthew SlaterMatthew Slater[/caption] FOXBORO -- Some eyebrows were raised this week when it was learned that the NFL and NFL Players Association were holding a mandatory conference call for players at noon Eastern Friday. Patriots player rep Matthew Slater was in on the call Friday and said it was not as dramatic as the initial reports might have led many to believe. Slater said it was merely an opportunity for Players Association president DeMaurice Smith to formally connect with players and the league over general safety issues and concerns the players may have. "Without going into too much detail, I think our union has always worked toward doing what's best for our players as far as health, safety and overall player wellness," Slater said. "And I think that's been something Dee has been passionate about since he's gotten into office, and I think that's something that needs to continue. You're never going to reach a point of satisfaction with that. It's something that is ever-evolving, ever-changing. Little things like that hopefully, at the end of the day, will help us make progress towards ultimately a great situation for our players." Will there be visible changes in the way safety rules are implemented? "It remains to be seen. I don't want to really get into the details of it," Slater said. "I think the nature of it is a little bit different than what you may think." That last line would lead some to believe that Friday's call was more about the administration within team facilities than game safety. Last week, Patriots owner Jonathan Kraft came out and said that MRSA, a highly contagious and dangerous bacterial virus, was not the cause of Jamie Collins' recent illness, which the team still has not identified. Collins said Friday that it was just a bad stomach bug that knocked him out of action. Additionally, this meeting comes on the same week that the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to a hit to the knees, a hit that caused Tom Brady to ask the league to look into protecting the legs of defenseless receivers. "No, I don't think there was one particular situation across the league that spurred it," Slater said. "The PA has been very conscious of addressing player health, safety and wellness since Dee has gotten in that position and that's something they're going to continue to do moving forward. "First time they've done something like this. I think it's good that they hear from everyone, that everyone gets a chance to have an input in some way, shape or form. Obviously, it's hard to cater to every single individual because we all have different situations. But, for everybody to get some feedback, I think that was good." For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots. DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.