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Grievance filed against Cardinals

By The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 26, 2000
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Associated Press

MESA, Ariz.-The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Arizona Cardinals, saying the team improperly retained its franchise player tag.

The Players Association claims the Cardinals violated the collective-bargaining agreement last year by negotiating a deal with franchise player, Rob Moore, that was designed to ensure the franchise player tag could be used on a different player this year.

The union says Arizona should lose its right to apply the tag to another player for the four-year duration of Moore's contract, a move that could keep the Cardinals from designating star defensive end Simeon Rice as its franchise player this year.

At issue in the grievance, filed two weeks ago, is whether Arizona came to a one-year agreement with Moore while a long-term deal already was completed or near completion simply to retain the franchise tag.

By announcing a one-year agreement with Moore 12 days before a multi-year deal was inked, Arizona believed it had retained the right to use its franchise tag on another player for the 2000 season. Had the four-year deal been announced originally, the Cardinals would have lost the franchise tag for the duration of that contract.

"Any situation in which there was a wink, nod or tacit agreement,'' in order to retain the tag is not allowable, Richard Berthelsen, general counsel of the NFLPA, told the Tribune, a newspaper serving suburban Phoenix. ``If that happened, it's circumvention. And that's what we suspect happened with the Cardinals and some other clubs.''

Three other NFL teams also are being called into question for their handling of the franchise tag - Green Bay (running back Dorsey Levens); San Francisco (wide receiver Terrell Owens) and Cincinnati (wide receiver Carl Pickens).

Moore's agent Gary Wichard said the team and Moore did not have a finalized multiyear deal when the one-year deal was signed.

"We signed the one-year because Rob wanted to play the first game with the idea we'd continue to negotiate,'' he said.

''... Could we have worked it out in the next 24 hours? Maybe, we could have, but it got to the point where Rob wanted to work with the team and needed a day or two of preparation before he got on the field in Philadelphia.''

General manager Bob Ferguson and assistant to the president Rod Graves both declined to comment on the NFLPA case.

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