WESTMINSTER — Baltimore Ravens starting cornerback Domonique Foxworth is one of the youngest NFL players to ever be voted onto the NFL Players Association executive committee and was instrumental in the election of new NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
The former University of Maryland standout also serves on the NFL’s player conduct advisory committee.
Signed to a four-year, $27.2 million contract that included $16.5 million in guaranteed money this offseason, Foxworth is a Randallstown native.
With NFL owners opting out of the collective bargaining agreement and a potential uncapped year in 2010 looming as well as a possible lockout in 2011, Foxworth discussed several league issues and his involvement in pending labor talks between the NFL management council and the players’ union with me in a recent interview:
A.W.: What was the initial meeting like that you attended in New York between DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?
Foxworth: “I think it was productive. It’s very early. Obviously, no one knows what’s going to happen, but it’s clear that it’s to everybody’s benefit to have an open dialogue and talk about the issues.”
A.W.: In your opinion, what are some of the top issues?
Foxworth: “I think getting a deal is obviously our top goal and we’re exploring as many avenues as possible to make it easier to come to an agreement. Having the finances of the teams out in the open would be a much more fair way to negotiate. There aren’t many negotiations where some people have more information than others, so it’s rather unfair in that way.”
A.W.: How did you get involved in NFLPA business?
Foxworth: My first year in the league I hung around Rod Smith, who was the longtime players’ rep with the Denver Broncos. The next year, he made sure that I was the alternate rep and I got to go to all the meetings my second year and I got really involved and it progressed from that point to being on the executive committee.”
A.W.: What was your motivation in joining the committee?
Foxworth: “Obviously, I’m involved in this league and it’s important to me and my fellow players that I know what’s going on and I’m involved in the decisions that are in the best interests of the players and the league. There’s no other way to do that than to get involved rather than to be on the sideline and complain or be on the sidelines and try to take credit. This is the only way I know how to do something.”
A.W.: How much did the Harvard educational program for NFL players enrich you?
Foxworth: “It always helps when you get around smart people. In that type of environment and experience, there wasn’t one golden nugget that I took away to my life. But being a part of that helped me tremendously.”
A.W.: Did you meet your girlfriend, a Harvard Law School student, at that time?
Foxworth: “I knew her from my rookie year when she was a senior at Maryland. She is a super nerd. I am just a regular nerd. I try to be a closet nerd. I don’t want people to know that I know anything. The vast majority of the guys are pretty intelligent.
“People underestimate football players. Everybody on this team has other interests and other dimensions. It’s a detriment to kids to think that we’re only associated with and interested in football. That’s one of the drawbacks of being an athlete, but I can try to dispel that stereotype by being involved in education.”
A.W.: Are you optimistic that there will be football in 2011 or do you expect a lockout?