Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston has been re-elected as president of the NFL Players Association. He ran unopposed and was widely expected and endorsed for getting another term in this role.
Honored to be re-elected as President of the NFLPA. Thank you to all the men for putting their faith in me.— Eric Winston (@ericwinston) March 18, 2016
The NFLPA is the labor organization representing pro football players in the NFL. The NFLPA, which has headquarters in Washington, D.C., is led by Winston and executive director DeMaurice Smith. Winston has served in this role since 2014 when he was elected president and succeeded Domonique Foxworth.
"I really enjoyed helping the guys, and I think this is a position for me in which I can affect the most change now with the most guys possible," Winston told USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
In order to be the NFLPA president, you must be an active NFL player, and Foxworth was no longer active and thus needed to be replaced. Prior to becoming president, Winston had been involved with the NFLPA in other capacities, including being elected as a co-alternate NFLPA rep for the Houston Texans in 2010 and serving on committees for agent discipline and finance.
"Two years ago, I ran on being a bridge between CBAs, from staff to players, building as many bridges as possible, making those relationships stronger," Winston said Monday. "Obviously, we can make minor tweaks in the CBA here and there and we have, through drug policy, (which) happened right when I came. Obviously, there’s been a lot in terms of personal conduct. But the economics, I think, have worked themselves out. Whether you like the percentage, whether you don’t like the percentage — I don’t think a lot of that’s changed.
"For me, (this election is) about helping as many guys as possible, providing the leadership that’s needed and going down that road and being a steady hand."
Though his playing career will be remembered most from his days in Houston as a standout tackle, Winston has since bounced around between Arizona, Kansas City and now Cincinnati, where he's been the past two years. He didn't join the Bengals until midway through the 2014 season, but picked up Paul Alexander's blocking scheme quickly enough that he ended up being the starting right tackle over the final three games (including the playoffs) of 2014.
Winston eventually re-signed during the 2015 offseason and went on to be one of the team's key backup lineman this past season. Though he's now 32 years old, the Bengals re-signed him to another one-year deal that will likely keep him as a backup tackle and even guard for the 2016 season.