Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth takes his second profession very seriously. That job is serving on the executive committee in NFL Players Association.
And Foxworth shares the same concerns that players, owners, fans and everyone in love with the NFL does. He's worried about a potential lockout in 2011.
"I'm really concerned," Foxworth said earlier this week. "Nobody wins from sitting out a year of football. Everybody loses. The fans lose, we lose, [the owners] lose."
Foxworth, 26, is in his second year serving on the 11-player executive committee and stands as the youngest member in the Players Association's history. He joined the committee because he saw it as a chance to not only represent himself and other players, but an opportunity to gain business experience.
"I fell in love with it," Foxworth said. "I enjoyed it and it was something I was passionate about in defending our players and trying to make things as good as they can be for my time in the NFL."
But right now Foxworth is feeling the pressure of trying to come to an agreement with the NFL's owners on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current structure will end after the 2010 season.
In general terms, the main hang-up is over how big a slice of the NFL's income should go to owners versus players.
Some owners point to franchises that are struggling to sell tickets and pay salaries and say the system must change. Many players are, for the most part, satisfied with the current structure and feel the owners are still making enough of a profit.
"You know that it's a balancing act," Foxworth said. "You want to do what's best for the players, what's best for the fans and what's best for the league. It's difficult to find all the balances because you don't want it to be too lopsided one way or the other because then the league won't survive. We've seen it in other leagues."
Foxworth said he's been a part of five negotiations with the league and countless meetings with the Players Association. He spoke with Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti, for about 30 minutes one day in the hallways of the Owings Mills training facility about the issue.
"Mr. Bisciotti is at the forefront," Foxworth said. "He's somebody our fans and our players should be proud to work for and I have nothing but fond feelings for him. He's sincere in his desire to keep playing football."
Foxworth said the main issue for players – and one in which the Players Association and owners tend to see eye-to-eye on – is player safety. Last season NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took a stricter stance on not allowing players to compete after suffering concussions.
Foxworth said that rule sometimes caused backlash from players who wanted to compete despite their injury. Thus, Foxworth is hoping to draw "hard and fast rules," about when a player must sit out.
"I think a lot of the error happens when you leave it up to the discretion of people who are affiliated with the organization – from players to doctors to coaches," Foxworth said. "Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to win. If you think you have a better chance of doing so with a player out on the field then you're probably going to put him out there."