Washington — The NFL’s willingness to reduce the amount of extra money owners want up front — from $1 billion to $800 million — isn’t enough to produce a new labor deal, the head of the players’ union said Wednesday, insisting that the league hasn’t offered to turn over enough financial data.
Both sides spoke much more openly about money matters Wednesday than they have since they entered mediation Feb. 18. With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire Friday, they clearly are far apart on how to divide more than $9 billion in annual revenues.
On his way into the 14th session at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said the issue of financial transparency — a key sticking point — “really should be behind us.”
“We’ve made more information available in the course of this negotiation than has ever been made available in decades of collective bargaining with the NFLPA,” Pash said. “Far more information. And we’ve offered to make even more information (available), including information that we do not disclose to our own clubs.”
Falcons sign GM to extension
Flowery Branch, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons signed general manager Thomas Dimitroff to a new contract, the team announced Wednesday.
Financial terms and length of the deal were not disclosed.
Early last month, the Falcons signed coach Mike Smith to a contract extension through the 2014 season.
Attorney wants Cox hearing closed
Denver — An attorney for Perrish Cox, a Denver Broncos cornerback charged with sexual assault, is asking a judge to hold a court hearing in secret because allowing the public and media to attend could taint a jury.
The Denver Post, the Associated Press and the New York Times oppose the move.
Ex-player sent Tressel e-mails
Columbus, Ohio — The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that a former Ohio State football player is the lawyer who sent e-mails to football coach Jim Tressel last spring telling him that players were selling memorabilia.
The newspaper, citing three unidentified sources, reports Columbus attorney Christopher Cicero sent the e-mails. Cicero lettered in football at Ohio State in 1983, when Tressel was an assistant coach, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
911 call: Cabrera had verbal run-in
Fort Pierce, Fla. — Media outlets are reporting police were summoned to a Fort Pierce restaurant before Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera’s DUI arrest last month because the first baseman allegedly threatened a manager and an off-duty fish and wildlife officer.
The Florida state attorney’s office released a 911 audiotape, a police video and a 41-page report on Wednesday.
According to The Detroit Free Press, the manager and off-duty officer told police Cabrera smelled of alcohol, insinuated he had a gun in a shoulder bag and said, “I know all of you, and I will kill all of you and blow this place up.”
Cabrera walked into the restaurant around 10:15 p.m., according to the report, and was told by the manager that the restaurant was closing. After continuing inside Cabrera was convinced to leave, but then leaned near the manager’s face, said “I will kill you” and again patted his shoulder bag, the newspaper reported.
Police searching for Longoria’s car
Chandler, Ariz. — Police in a Phoenix suburb are searching for a stolen 1967 Camaro belonging to Tampa Bay All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria’s car has Florida license plates and is valued at $75,000.
The Camaro and a classic 1970 Buick belonging to someone else were stolen from a fenced yard last weekend as they awaited restoration work.
Utley hopes to avoid surgery
Clearwater, Fla. — With second baseman Chase Utley unable to play in any spring training game due to a right knee injury, the Philadelphia Phillies are exploring non-surgical options.
The Phillies said an MRI of the five-time All-Star on Monday revealed tendinitis, bone inflammation and chondromalacia, which is pain due to irritation under the kneecap.
“We’re still doing and researching who exactly we want to get opinions from,” Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Perez headed to Mets bullpen
Port St. Lucie, Fla. — Oliver Perez is headed to the New York Mets bullpen, likely his last chance to make the team.
The left-hander allowed his first four batters to reach base Tuesday against the Houston Astros in his final opportunity to prove he could be a starter. Overall, he gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in three innings.
Rivera throws 1st batting practice
Tampa, Fla. — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has taken another step toward pitching in his first spring training game this year.
Rivera threw 35 pitches during his first batting practice session Wednesday. He didn’t rule out pitching on Sunday, while manager Joe Girardi said Sunday or next Wednesday would likely be the right-hander’s debut.