Why DeMaurice Smith doesn't support an 18-game NFL season

Josh Luckenbaugh
July 15, 2019 - 11:00 am

While NFL players are getting ready to compete for roster spots at training camp, the league and the NFL Players' Association are battling over the length of the regular season. 

Watch NFL games now on fuboTV.

The NFLPA shot down an idea from NFL owners last week which would expand the season from 16 to 18 games. The owners reportedly suggested capping players' participation at 16 games to help mitigate concerns a longer season would increase injuries.

But for NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, that proposal still doesn't do enough to protect the players. 

"We would never contemplate a world where even if you're playing 16 games in 18, that's still two more weeks of practice," Smith told The Sports Junkies Monday. "If the league wants to propose something that decreases injury, increases a player's long-term health care, and decreases their exposure to the type of injuries that we know cause long-term problems, then we'll hear it."

"I know fans love to talk about ideas like this, but I live in a world where we want to decrease injury, we want to decrease exposure, we want to decrease the chances of long-term injury, we want to increase the type of health care that we've got after football is over. I didn't hear any of that baked into an 18-game proposal."

There is one schedule tweak Smith would make, however: Eliminate preseason games. 

"I look at preseason games as our guys being exposed to injury before the work begins," Smith said. "In 2018, we had 79 preseason concussions before the work began."

"Instead of looking at all of this as a bridge to 18 games, why don't we look at it in isolation of how do we decrease injuries."

Listen to Smith's full interview with the Junkies below, and stream the show and all other 106.7 The Fan shows at TheFanDC.com/Listen.

Follow Josh Luckenbaugh and 106.7 The Fan on Twitter. 

Related: