A conversation with John Abraham's agents

Q)Tony, what is going on with the John Abraham negotiations?

Tony Agnone: It's up to the greedy owners to make this situation work out, and we get an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. Then at that point, it would make it easier for everybody. Then I can tell you we would probably be able to move fairly quickly.

Rich Rosa: But we can definitively tell you that we will be moving fairly quickly over the weekend and than after the weekend.

Q)Why did you say greedy owners?

Agnone: The fact that 32 greedy owners couldn't figure out that they had to make this collective bargaining agreement happen when we went from $6 billion in revenue to $10 billion in revenue.

Q)Can you summarize John's feelings? It sounds like it reached the point of no return.

Rosa: He would likely say to you that it's water under the bridge. Change is good in one's life sometimes. For John Abraham, moving forward, change would be good for him.

Q)Why is that?

Rosa: You get to a point of your career as a player, and there have been some unfulfilled promises. There is a lack of confidence and lack of respect as to how you have been treated. You have to move through that because it's a business. That is what we've done with John, move him beyond them and have his sights set on a brighter future, maybe somewhere else. It's a fact of life in this business that you have to eventually move on. Great players sometimes end up on other teams. This is not about the money. This is about being somewhere, and being a leader on a team that has a chance to win a championship. What player in the NFL wouldn't want that.

Q)Have you guys formally requested a trade?

Agnone: It's something that doesn't have to be said.

Rosa: You can read between the lines.

Q)Why has it reached this point?<

Agnone: We would have had a different conference call in December of 2005, if [a long-term deal was in the works].

Q)Rich, you said the John wants to join a team with a chance to win a championship. Does he think the Jets are in for a long rebuilding process?

Agnone: I don't think he looks at it that way. I think he is looking at his own situation, and he's looking for a long-term commitment, and an opportunity to help a team get to that spot. Right now it doesn't look like that is going to happen. So with that being the case, he's going to look for another team to provide him those opportunities.

Q)You guys said it's a lack of respect to John, but Walter Jones was franchised three times, and the Seahawks clearly respect him. Why is the franchise tag disrespectful?

Rosa: It's more of the commitment level, than the lack of respect. It's a pay as you go system. You are willing to pay a guy for a year, but not four or five years.

Agnone: I don't think I ever said it was a lack of respect. But there was a situation here where we thought we were going to do a long-term arrangement, and that isn't going to happen, so you have to look at all your options. One of those options is that you go to another place. I think if there had been a new collective bargaining agreement, you would have seen a change in the franchise situation.

I don't think the situation with Walter Jones was right or proper. But the difference between that situation and this one is that they were always in negotiations for a long-term agreement.

Q)Why do you think they refuse to talk about a long-term agreement with you guys?

Agnone: You have to ask them. We basically have to assume that they don't want to enter into a long-term agreement. That is basically the impression we get. And with all this talk about a trade, it makes you think that is what they are thinking.

Q)What about the three-four defense. It's no secret, they are going to bring that back into the mix. At this stage of John's career is he a guy who would like to avoid dropping into coverage?

Agnone: I don't think that has ever been an issue with him. Actually he's made some pretty good plays dropping into coverage. But he's been such a good pass rusher, and it's so hard to find good pass rushers, most defensive coordinators, after a while, aren't interested in putting him into coverage.

Q)After a while it seemed like Donnie Henderson stopped dropping him into coverage last year. Did Donnie think that was a waste of his pass rushing talents?

Agnone: What Donnie got out of both Hackett and Heimerdinger was that you always had to account for him as a pass rusher. Don't make it easier on them at all by dropping him into coverage.

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