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Echoing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Pash said Smith's assertion that players are being asked to accept an 18 percent pay cut -- the $340,000 per-player-average figure -- was among the "misrepresentations of what our proposal is."
"We have never said it would result in players having to take a reduction," Pash said. "The entire point here is to generate a pool of resources to have continued investment and continued growth, which would lead to higher salaries and benefits for players."
For now, some players say they're bracing for issues. Mawae said he even has recommended players save 25 percent of their salary next season "in the event of a lockout," though he noted "we can't make all 1,900 players save their money."
"We've told them, `Don't go out and buy a new boat. Don't go out and buy a new car. Pay off whatever debts you have,' " said Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts. "These are things we've been learning from history."
Smith and Mawae said that if next season goes forward with no salary cap, it would be highly unlikely to have a new CBA with a cap reinstated.
"Virtually impossible," Smith said.
"A very difficult task," Mawae said.
Asked about the owners' assertion that the 18 percent pay cut request was false, Mawae said did not hold back:
"That is not true," he said. "That is absolutely true they've asked for 18 percent."
Meantime, the union is increasing dues for now with the idea of returning the money as income to players, if needed, during a lockout.
"Our guys get it," Mawae said. "Our guys understand."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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