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NFL Rumors: Russell Okung, Michael Thomas Among NFLPA President Nominees

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung (76) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Russell Okung, Michael Thomas, J.C. Tretter and Sam Acho were nominated for president of the NFL Players Association, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Eric Winston currently serves as the NFLPA president, and members of the players' union are continuing deliberations over whether to approve the collective bargaining agreement proposed by league owners.

Pelissero provided some context to the nominees' positions regarding the negotiating process:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Of the four men nominated for NFLPA president: - Acho voted yes on the CBA - Okung voted no - Tretter released a detailed a breakdown for players to educate themselves, but did not state a position - Thomas has not spoken publicly As of now, the vote is scheduled for Tuesday. https://t.co/H1ZuzdwbsJ

The CBA in place covers the 2020 season, so the immediate threat of a work stoppage doesn't yet loom. However, negotiations between the respective sides are unlikely to become easier should a majority of players vote against the proposal.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Saturday that some owners are hopeful the deal will fall through. The CBA on the table calls for a 17-game season, but a handful of owners are aiming to grow the regular season to 18 games down the road.

"They think they can get a better deal next year," one source said to Fowler. "They feel they gave up too much on the economics."

The NFLPA announced it extended the voting deadline to March 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET, which is four days before the NFL's 2020 league year officially begins.

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Speaking with NBC Sports' Peter King, Winston remained optimistic the proposed CBA will pass.

"I've gotten that question a few times," he said. "I would think it would pass. I would think it would pass by a lot. It's important that we let the process play out, and important that all players understand the issues and vote their conscience."

Winston added that players will "be approaching some tense times" should the CBA negotiations fail, however.

The former offensive tackle was unanimously elected to a third term as NFLPA president in 2018. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted he cannot run again since he didn't play in either of the last two seasons.

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