Mike Brown: "It Was a Very Generous Offer"

Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown, who was on the NFL's negotiating committee, didn't hesitate to weigh in on his thoughts about the deal that he and the rest of the NFL team owners offered to the NFLPA on Friday before the union decided to decertify and take the battle to court. During a 34-minute interview with the mothership and Cincinnati Enquirer, he said that he believes the offer to the player's union was "very generous."

"I thought it was very generous offer and thought it was going to bring the union into serious talks. It was disappointing it didn't do that. They stood by their long-term strategy. This offer didn't ask veteran players to take a step back...Our people at the end tried to split the difference. We understood the difference was $640 million and our people offered to split the difference."

He went on to say that he doesn't feel bad for the players or apologize for the offer that he and the other owners made to their union.

"I don't apologize for the offer. These are guys that average, what, $2 million a year? It's a tremendous situation they have. And it has become burdensome for the teams. Yes, the teams are asking for some relief going forward. I don’t think that was unreasonable. Especially for the union's core constituency. The veteran players who weren't asked to take a step backward at all."

Brown also said that, like the players, the owners are united because they know what's best for the league's future and they'll do what's best to keep professional football running in America for the long run, saying, "From time to time, if you don't stand up to union demands, you get in trouble. We've seen it in industry, even in government with public unions. We want to keep our business a healthy one for the long haul. We think it's time to stand up to that."

Even though the players and owners could not reach an agreement to avoid a lockout, Brown is confident that the two sides will come together and there will be football in 2011.

"I can say one thing is similar about all of (the work stoppages)," said Brown Saturday morning in his Paul Brown Stadium office. "At some point they do come to an end and you get back together and do what we do and play football. This one will be no different."

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