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FWST: Jones denies obstructionist role


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Jones denies obstructionist role


Star-Telegram Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS - Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is not to blame for the inability of the NFL and NFL Players Association to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

And any characterizations to the contrary are ridiculous, he said.

"I think that's similar to losing a ballgame and somebody pointing the finger at one player in a ballgame and saying that's why we lost it," Jones said. "We know that's ridiculous."

Maybe so.

But that is the picture that has been painted by NFLPA director Gene Upshaw, who departed a week of negotiations with Jones and the NFL on Friday very pessimistic about reaching a new deal before free agency starts Friday.

"March 3 will be the beginning of a new league year, and we are just not there yet," Upshaw told a group of agents Friday. "I'm taking the position now that it won't get done."

Upshaw blames division among the owners over revenue sharing as one of the holdups.

Because the Cowboys are considered one of the nine high-revenue teams that don't want to expand the revenue-sharing system any more than it already is, Jones has been labeled as the ring leader.

Jones disagrees, saying "there are no internal issues in the NFL" and calls the accusations "an excuse" for not getting a deal done.

"The higher revenue clubs are in complete agreement that during the term of this CBA that if a club needs money we'll give it to them," Jones said. "There are not competitive balance issues, and there haven't been. There's 100 percent agreement."

Moreover, Jones believes there's no reason why a deal should not have already been done.

He said enough major increases have been inserted in the deal to get it done and characterized the current stalemate as "careless."

"It's been my experience that when you get a deal that works between both negotiating parties, that it's real risky if not careless to not go ahead and do it." Jones said. "So I'm concerned. When you get down to that point, you're out there without a net. Something could go haywire, and you could not get a deal."

The current deal expires following the 2007 season. But because 2007 is an uncapped year, not getting a new deal done before Friday will affect the way teams approach free agency and structure contracts.

"It totally changes our strategy for the short term and the long term," Jones said.

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