Theismann frustrated by labor impasse

Updated: March 29, 2011, 9:09 AM ET
By Kelley Carter | Special to Page 2

Joe Theismann has a plan for waiting out this whole NFL contract muckety-muck.

He's going to tune in to baseball, anticipate the NBA playoffs and make sure that his golf game is in tip-top shape in the event of a lockout. Golf takes precedence, because he's convinced that a lot of these current football players will be boning up on the greens.

"I'm sure I'll see a lot of these guys in golf tournaments I play in. The only problem with them not being able to play football is they're gonna probably get better at golf, so I gotta get better," laughs the former Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowler.

[+] EnlargeTheismann
Stan Badz/Getty ImagesFormer Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann says he's got to work on his golf game to fend off locked-out NFL players.

Theismann is taking on a new role as a pitchman for SURGEX, a sports nutritional supplement. Also a longtime broadcaster, he was added to the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" crew last fall, while also serving as an analyst for the network's weekly "Playbook" show, and says he's disappointed with the way the NFL negotiations have been going so far.

"It's a darn shame. I've stayed away from this thing purposely, just to sort of take a fan's view of this. So, I'm looking at this like a fan and from what I've seen, is I see the owners negotiating from a position and making offers to the players. I have yet to read -- now, maybe this is because the players don't have a public relations machine -- but I have yet to see the players come off of any position except that they want to see 10 years of the owners' books," the former quarterback says.

"I mean, I haven't seen players say, 'we would like this.' From what I've read is the owners have said that they're going to put $82 million into a retired players fund. Well, that catches my attention, being a retired player. They're talking about coming off of the 18 games. I just think that there is enough money out there to be divided among people in a sport that has never seen better times. It is the single most popular sport in America, its revenue has been up, its ratings have been up, it's fan viewership is up and now there's this dark cloud hanging over it."

Theismann says he's hoping that both sides will sit down and air everything out, so that he can focus on the sport that much of his life has centered around.

"I do believe that there will be a resolution. I do believe that once the sides sit down, something will happen," Theismann, 61, said. He added that he wishes the owners and players would both admit they have found common ground on a salary cap for rookies, something he says they both agree on.

"I would have liked to see that kind of progress," Theismann, 61, says.

That said, "I'm not hopeful that it'll wrap up soon. I think bad will is being built on both sides and I think some time is gonna have to transpire. I do believe that it will be resolved, there will be a football season in 2011, I really believe that. Whether it will be 16 games or 14 games, I'm not certain, but I do believe that there will be a season," he says. "And I say this to the fans, go enjoy baseball! The NBA playoffs are about to start, and you know, like, every series is a seven-game series and they have umpteen of them. Enjoy the summer with your family. Take a mental break from the game as a fan, just like the players do, and then once we start to get around to July, and if things haven't started to really manifest ... in a positive way, then you can start getting a little anxious about the season coming up."

Kelley L. Carter is a Los Angeles-based entertainment freelancer.

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Kelley L. Carter is an Emmy-winning entertainment journalist who has written for publications including USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, Vibe and Essence magazines. She also regularly provides expert pop culture and entertainment commentary for outlets including CNN, E! and the TV Guide Channel.