Just to warn you, the following article has nothing to do, at least directly, with the Cincinnati Bengals. It does, however, shine some light on a side of the lockout story that you possibly haven't thought about yet. That side is the side of the practice squad players on every team.
Pro Football Talk's Gregg Rosenthal recently wrote about an article in Esquire, written by Peter Schrager, in which he interviewed Panthers second-year defensive back and practice squad player, R.J. Stanford, about how the lockout has changed the way he lives day to day.
"With my 401K contributions, all my health-benefit deductions, and my bills — I couldn’t save much last year," Stanford said.
"The nightlife thing has completely changed. I wasn’t ever an extravagant guy, but now it’s really toned-down," Stanford said, before describing his new meal plan. "I’ve gone back to basics. I had to. It’s like I’m in college all over again. I’m eating Ramen noodles, Cup-a-Soups, peanut butter and jelly, and oatmeal for dinner."
Rosenthal says that Stanford was likely exaggerating when it came to the kind of food he had to eat but that he did have to cancel vacation plans and he was forced to make the decision to rent for another year instead of buying a condo.
While any attempt from an NFL player or owner to solicit sympathy from the average NFL fan is largely an exercise in futility, the players that we normally don't think about, the practice squad players, may be hurting more than most people realize.
They can't sit back on their multi-million dollar salaries and survive through a long lockout. While I still don't really feel sorry for any player, mainly because they still get paid to play football, or owner, I will be the most happy for the practice squad players when the lockout ends.