Union president sends letter about labor gains

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By BARRY WILNER, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — NFL players union president Domonique Foxworth sent a letter to his membership Monday outlining the gains they made in the collective bargaining agreement reached last summer with the league.

Foxworth stressed safer working conditions and more lucrative contracts. He said the amount of cash spent on players in salaries and benefits increased to about 55 percent of all NFL revenues in 2011. That exceeds any year under the 2006 agreement.

Players were paid more than $160 million per team in cash and benefits last season, the first of a 10-year agreement that ended the 4½-month lockout.

Because of the increase in signing bonuses and rookie guarantees, the amount of guaranteed money paid to players increased by about 7 percent, the highest percentage of guaranteed pay ever.

Foxworth, who took over in March from the retired Kevin Mawae, noted that players also were working in a better environment.

"Elimination of two-a-days and reduced hitting in practices have provided an immediate benefit to players," he wrote. "Add to this the dramatic improvement the players achieved in improved working conditions, benefits and player safety, including a shorter offseason, reduced padded practices, a much higher injury protection benefit, and improved medical care standards, and it becomes clear that the new CBA was something that was worth fighting for."

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