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  1. #1
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Incoming rookie Von Miller proud to take lead role in lockout fight

    Incoming rookie Von Miller proud to take lead role in lockout fight
    By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

    Updated 3/14/2011 3:49:31 PM |

    The agent for star Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, the lone incoming rookie among 10 players who have filed suit against the NFL, said Sunday that Miller welcomed the invitation to join plaintiffs who include Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

    "I know that Von really felt truly honored to be asked to essentially represent the rookie class in this action, knowing who else was involved from the veterans' side," Joby Branion, executive director of Athletes First of Irvine, Calif., said in a phone interview.

    "Any time you can have your name connected with Tom Brady and (the others), those are just fantastic players who are also proven human beings."

    Branion said earlier via e-mail that Miller, the top-rated outside linebacker in the draft and winner of last season's Dick Butkus Award as top college linebacker, "understands the importance of this circumstance as it relates to all past, present and future players" and that he is a "very rare young man who is both a natural leader as well as a 'team first' player."

    The antitrust suit was filed in Minneapolis Friday after breakdown in talks between owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement. The NFL responded by locking out the players. But the draft still is set for April 28-30. The 6-foot-3, 246-pound Miller is a potential top five pick.

    "I think he's the kind of guy that some people will feel is the No. 1, No. 2 player in this draft," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said last week in a teleconference.

    Kiper said he has Miller rated No. 4 overall and that he has him going No. 5 in his mock draft to the Arizona Cardinals. "Right now, he is red hot. I would lock him in for a top five pick," said Kiper.

    Does Branion have any concerns Miller's participation in the suit might affect his draft appeal?

    "You certainly would hope not," said Branion. "I think Von's draft status should stand on the things that should be evaluated, his athletic talent, his proven record on the field and his proven record off the field."

    Added Branion, "In many respects, he's a very, very safe pick because he's not only extraordinarily talented athletically but his character is impeccable."

    How did Miller get involved in the suit? "He was asked. We discussed it, and he thought it again would be an honor to participate and be a part of that with so many other great players and people," said Branion.

    Another sports agent with Athletes First is Andrew Kessler. He is the son of Jeffrey Kessler, primary outside attorney for the NFL Players Association, longtime key player in the NFLPA's legal jousts with the NFL and a point man in the 10-player suit filed after the NFLPA decertified as bargaining agent for the players.

    Was there a Kessler family connection in Miller's involvement in the suit?

    "Not really, other than obviously we sort of had a better idea of what was going on maybe before other people," said Branion. " I think there a handful probably in this rookie class who have the really, really special on and off the field traits.

    "He was asked, and it was as simple as that. I don't think the (Kessler) relationship was the driving force behind it by any means."


  2. #2
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Incoming rookie Von Miller proud to take lead role in lockout fight

    So... I'm guessing he won't attend the draft?
    I believe!

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