Middle-class players getting squeezed

Middle-class players getting squeezed

OWINGS MILLS -- Darnell Dinkins is frustrated, sad and concerned about the staredown between the NFL and the players' union. The Baltimore Ravens' free agent backup tight end and special-teams ace isn't sure where he'll play next season.

At the training complex Wednesday with his daughter, Dinkins said he would love to be back in Baltimore. He's extremely active in the community. Plus, his daughter has made a lot of good friends at school. However, labor discord may cause the salary cap to not go up as high as initially projected.

That means middle-class athletes like Dinkins could get squeezed.

With five other teams interested, it's a long shot that he'll be retained and the Ravens' offense and kick coverage will miss a tough guy who scrapped his way into the NFL from the semi-pro Pittsburgh Colts.

In talking with Dinkins, a good person who's well prepared economically and educationally for life after football -- it occurred to me that the rank-and-file union membership ought to be allowed to vote on a referendum on whether they want to accept the NFL's current offer to avoid financial disaster instead of leaving it all in union chief Gene Upshaw's hands.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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URL:http://www.ravensinsider.com

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