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NFL PLANNING TO SUBPOENA PLAYERS' AGENTS

NFL PLANNING TO SUBPOENA PLAYERS' AGENTS

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The NFL plans to subpoena 10 top agents in connection with a lawsuit in which the league alleges collusion between agents and the players' association.

At a six-hour meeting Thursday, the 28 NFL clubs were told that the subpoenas will be served for a lawsuit being heard in federal district court in Minneapolis. In that suit, the league has charged that the National Football League Players Association and various agents have been in collusion in fixing salaries by sharing salary information.An NFL source identified three of those agents as Leigh Steinberg, Tom Condon and Bob Woolf, who represent dozens of NFL stars.

NFL spokesman Joe Browne said that the depositions would be served as early as next week.

``It's not clear what the term collusion means or the practice that is referred to,' Steinberg said. ``Whatever is necessary to produce a satisfactory contractual result for a client is certainly covered under lawyer-client privilege.

``It would seem to me to be in the best interests of the NFL to try and create a climate for peaceful resolution of problems as opposed to stoking the fires of contention.'

Condon's office said he couldn't comment because he was involved in contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Raiders regarding No. 1 draft choice Todd Marinovich.

``What the agents and NFLPA do is pro-competitive,' Doug Allen, assistant executive director of the NFLPA, said in reference to negotiations involving draft picks and veteran players. ``Only an employer can fix prices. It's not collusive, but pro-competitive.

``We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that. ... We're not only not worried about it, but welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that in court.'

The NFL Management Council's executive committee also told the teams that the practice squads are being eliminated because lawyers representing the players on those practice squads were making unreasonable salary demands.

Last year, practice-squad players made $3,000 a week for the 17-week season, a salary negotiated with the league after the NFL paid practice players $1,000 per week in 1989. Those players were free to negotiate salaries higher than the $3,000 on an individual basis.

``This year, we were talking about a minimum weekly salary of $3,200 for 17 weeks,' said Joseph A. ``Chip' Yablonski, who represented the practice players last year. ``That fits very neatly within club minimums and maximums.'

Teams were allowed three to five practice-squad players in 1989 and '90 who could work out during the week but were not part of the active roster.

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