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Texans weigh in on expanded NFL season

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Kicker Kris Brown, a Texans representative for the NFLPA, said expanding the NFL schedule is likely to raise injury concerns among players.

Before the league wrapped up its annual owners meetings on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell raised the issue of expanding the regular season from its current 16 game schedule to perhaps 17 or 18 games. The idea behind Goodell's suggestion is that more regular season games - and fewer preseason games - would bring more value to NFL fans.

The commissioner said he would work to present a proposal to the owners in May and acknowledged the hurdles before him, namely the need to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union.

An expanded schedule clearly would become a part of the CBA negotiations. The union's current deal expires after the 2010 season, and a failure to come to a new agreement would result in an uncapped season in 2010.

{QUOTE}Among the issues at hand for the owners and NFL Players' Association are how long the preseason would be, when the regular season would begin, how many bye weeks would be scheduled and when the draft and offseason programs would be held.

Some Houston players expressed concern that adding regular season games could result in more injuries and might not give young players enough time to develop in the offseason.

"Obviously, this is an issue that will be discussed along with the CBA," said Kris Brown, an NFLPA representative for the Texans. "We will figure out the issues and terms that will go along with a longer season. We want to make sure we give young players enough time and that they are taken care of before the season begins.

"By expanding the season, you open the door for more injuries. If you take away two preseason games and put them in the regular season, you would be taking away the games where a lot of starters and veterans may not be playing. Certainly, there is going to be a risk factor involved. We have to assess what those risks are and see what all the concerns are. If this is going to add value to the brand of the NFL, I think the players will be in favor of it. But we have to go through all the assessments."

The Texans' coaches said they wouldn't mind shrinking the preseason schedule, but they also are worried about an increased risk of injury to the players.

"I think playing three preseason games could help a team because players already come into training camp in shape and coaches have seen a lot from their players after three preseason games," defensive coordinator Frank Bush said. "But adding games to the regular season could make it a war of attrition. The least-injured teams will win; 18 games is a long season."

Stay tuned for more information on this hot-button issue.

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