NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith: 'Players' safety key to expanded playoffs'

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, speaks during an NFLPA press conference prior to Super Bowl XLVIII on January 30, 2014
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NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith warns the NFL and the owners of all 32 teams that the players' injury benefits must be considered if the playoffs are expanded.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has warned the NFL and the owners of all 32 teams that the players' injury compensation packages must be increased if they were to expand the playoffs.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has hinted over the past few months that he would like see the number of playoff teams increased to 14, which would add another two games to the post-season schedule.

However, Smith has warned that the players must be consulted first and that there to be agreements in place to ensure their safety in playing the extra games.

"The players have not seen a press release from the NFL indicating that they were going to take up the issue of better workers compensation benefits or increased injury protection benefits in light of their desire for extra playoff games," Smith told USA Today.

"A credible commitment to player health and safety has to include more than a group of Owners voting to recommend playing more games."

The NFL and the NFLPA previously had a dispute over the collective bargaining agreement which saw a lockout take place in the off-season of the 2011 campaign.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013
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