The NFL Players Association board of representatives voted on Friday to retain executive director DeMaurice Smith for another term, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The representatives’ vote, which consists of players from all 32 teams in the league, indicated Smith’s tenure could be as short as a year. Smith got a minimum of 22 votes for another term while eight voted against him and two abstained, per Pelissero.
The representative council voted to change the union’s framework and allow a more flexible tenure for the chief executive, saying it could range from one to five years.
“The NFLPA Player Representatives Council has voted to extend an additional term of DeMaurice Smith as executive director of our union,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “He has been transparent with his interest in moving on after his term and for the stability and security of our union, he will work with our player leaders to ensure we have a succession plan in place for the next leader.
“Of [Smith] cares deeply for our union and we thank him for staying to help us secure a strong future for the NFLPA. “
Smith’s job was in jeopardy on Tuesday. The NFLPA executive committee voted to determine whether Smith should remain in his post. According to the NFLPA constitution, a unanimous approval vote by the 14-person committee would have kept Smith in office. However, the vote was split evenly at 7-7, according to ESPN.
Smith’s term was due to end in March. Following the NFLPA Representative Council’s decision, the NFLPA Executive Committee will negotiate a contract extension for Smith that could keep him in his post until about 2023, per Pelissero. With Smith still intact, he provides stability throughout another NFL season involving an evolving football landscape navigating COVID-19 protocols.
Smith, who was elected in 2009, has held the position for the past 12 seasons after being re-elected in 2012 and 2015. In 2017, the NFLPA selection committee voted unanimously to extend his contract.
He negotiated the new collective agreement with the league and team owners which was ratified in March 2020 by a narrow vote of 1,019 to 959. But, prominent players such as Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt and Richard Sherman expressed opposition to the deal, which among other factors extended the regular season to 17 games.
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