Four teams – the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts – voted to decertify the NFL Players Association. The Washington Redskins were planning to vote on Friday.

The move gives the players leverage if and when they fail to reach an agreement with NFL management. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is traveling around explaining the situation to teams and players, called the move “purely procedural” and “a non-story until March.”

It is, however, the same tactic the players used to great effect in 1993. A total decertification of the union would give individual players the ability to sue the league for anti-trust issues.

NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Attalah hopes the players and the league can come together.

“It’s important that everyone understands that we will be committed to collective bargaining,” he told ESPN. “Negotiations remain the best path to a fair and long-term deal.”

Now, what about that 18-game schedule?
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