NFL Lockout News: Keith Brooking feels ‘very confident’ regular season games won’t be missed, but acknowledges ‘serious’ negotiations must take place

May 17, 2011 – 5:30 am by Steven Cuce

A stay has been granted in favor of the owners meaning the NFL lockout will continue through the appeals process in early June. What does the most up-to-date lockout news mean to the common fan? Well for one, the biggest fear of all has taken shape — a situation where the owners now have leverage.  Though somewhat expected, Monday’s news should still be perceived by fans as a monumental victory for the owners.  The players who seemed to have all the leverage in the courts in the beginning of this lockout battle, now have to worry that Judge Nelson’s original ruling, as Adam Schefter recently mentioned, is unlikely to prevail given recent developments.

The 14-year veteran linebacker, Keith Brooking, has been through it all during his career in the NFL. He speaks very softly, but he tells it like it is. Brooking still believes he has another good season in him down in “Big D” and he has a confidence about him in his speech that wouldn’t make you believe there is much drama or turmoil surrounding the very toxic and pessimistic nature of the NFL lockout. Brooking simplifies the lockout down to the most simplest of terms nd isn’t ready to forecast doom on the future of America’s most popular sport.  We all sure hope he is right.

Keith Brooking joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway & Company to discuss the bleak nature of the NFL lockout situation in light of Monday’s news,, how confident he is that football won’t be disrupted later this summer, the Cowboys’ full workouts this off-season organized by Tony Romo, how he received information about the Cowboys defense from new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan during the brief window that the lockout was lifted, and  why he’s still an adamant believer that lockout will be resolved before August.

Has the lockout become more bleak then you thought it would?

“I think as you get closer to the season I think it tends to look that way a little bit. For me I’m a little more on the inside then obviously our fans and the people out there listening right now. I may have a little more insight on what is going on and little more confidence that, probably a lot more confidence that the season will take place and we won’t miss games because when you go out in the public and people come up to you the feeling you get is that our fans are thinking that the NFL is going to come to an end with some of the comments that they make. I think I told you guys the last time we spoke that was on-air that obviously I’m not 100% on anything, but I still even today a month or so later I feel very confident that we won’t miss an NFL regular season game. I do feel confident in that. I just hope our fans hang in there and have that confidence as well and believe this thing will get worked out.”

Why are you confident that football won’t be disrupted come about August?

“Well I just think there’s enough smart people that…on both sides, the NFL and the players side that they’re not going to mess up a game, the most popular game in this country, obviously it’s so powerful right now. It’s so popular. You can say it’s not about the money, when it’s always about the money. There’s too much money at stake once the regular season takes place for each owner and players obviously. I just don’t think they will allow that to happen. That’s my hope. That’s what I’m hanging my hat on. Even what you just said what Adam [Schefter] just reported I mean its forever changed the owners coming out making statement to players. The only way this thing is going to get worked out is for the owners and the players to sit down and the table and negotiate seriously and really want to get something worked out. I don’t think that necessarily the case right now. I think it’s going to come down to the 24th hour before that takes place like I said until anyone realizes that ‘Hey this is getting serious. It’s getting down to the last minute here and we can mess something up that’s really special right now.’ I don’t think anyone wants to do that, so that’s what I’m hanging my hat on.”

Take us through some of these full workouts going on? We’ve heard as many 40-50 players are showing up to them. Are you surprised by these numbers and this turn out?

“No, it hasn’t surprised me. To be honest with you I hoped for more. We went into the third week of our workouts right now and just going back a little bit before the workouts started a few of us met and it’s something we thought is extremely important is when we did this we wanted to do it right now because we wanted the guys who showed up to spread the word and get out to the other guys how productive these practices were going to be. We just didn’t want to hold practices to say we were doing it. The guy involved and Tony [Romo] pretty much orchestrated the whole thing I mean the schedule, the script, email and calling guys, a few of us helped out with that, I mean there’s a lot of work, a lot of detailed work involved and when we get there the first day it was extremely productive. The first week we probably had around 40 [people]. The second week we had over 45 guys, so the numbers are getting bigger which is a very good thing because obviously if we get there the first day and it’s not productive and we’re out there just running around guys are not going back, so the numbers have increased each day we have been out there. It’s been extremely productive for us and it has been a great tempo. Guys are getting after it and we are getting better. You look around the league they’re not talking about other teams. You got 10, 15, 20 guys showing up and you know holding press conferences before and bring attention to it. We’re trying to keep it as low key as possible and we’re out there for a reason, so I’m very happy with the way it has been going. Hopefully this week we have bigger numbers and our guys continue to show up because we are getting better by what we are doing. There’s no doubt about it.”

Did you get more information from Rob Ryan during that window where players could talk with coaches when the lockout was lifted?

“No I mean I got our playbook way back and been looking through it. It’s a very complicated system. There’s a lot of stuff, but I have been around long enough to where looking over it the past couple of months I’m very familiar with what we are doing. Bradie [James] and I we’re able to go out there and run our defense and get guys going in the right direction, DeMarcus Ware as well. We are very comfortable with our system now. Rob [Ryan] like I said it’s very complex system and we have a wider range of fronts and coverages. We’re a 3-4 [defensive scheme], but we’re a 4-3 in some situations. It’s kind of a hybrid defense a 3-4/4-3 [defensive scheme]. The one thing I love in just meeting him in the brief time that I did was he is going to up. He’s been watching us on film and once we do get to work, which I hope is soon, he is going to be come even more familiar with us, so depending on once he gets to know us and our strengths. He’s going to put us in position and obviously we’re are going to run what he thinks we’re going to be the best at, so we’re working on everything right now in these practices and obviously get a good little base under us and when we get into training camp and hopefully have some OTA’s with our coaches and a good amount of them do take place we’re all going to be better for it for what we’re doing right now.”

Am I being too pessimistic that we won’t know until August if this lockout will continue or end?

“My hope Randy [Galloway]…it’s hard for me to put a time frame on it. My hope is that this week obviously with this stay ruling, whoever decided on that, whatever court system decided on that today, but that gives the owners more leverage. I think the only way this can get worked out is that we get back to the negotiating table and the longer the court systems tend to drag this thing out and there’s no pressure put on one side, the owners or the players, I think it obviously gets more dim, the picture does. I just hope and pray that we can get back to the table and negotiate seriously because I think that is the only way this thing is going to get worked out. Hopefully that’s sooner then later. The thing about it is, the thing I like Randy is we’re preparing. It would be much better if we had our coaches out there and had our OTA settings and everybody was there because we had a large participation at our off-season program here. That would be much better for all of us, but the one thing and I’m not just saying this because I’m on the radio and I want to make our fans feel better, but I promise you regardless there’s going to be no excuses with us. There’s about six or eight of us that are making sure that we’re going to be as prepared as we can possibly be when the season does start, when we get with our coaches. There will be no excuses for us. Our fans can hang their hat on that.”

Listen to Keith Brooking on ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 here

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