Player representatives from the NFL's 28 teams will reassess strategy and consider setting a strike deadline today at a special meeting in Chicago, the first gathering of the full board of NFL Players Association representatives since May.
"Some of the teams are ready to strike now," said Mark Murphy, the Redskins' NFLPA representative and a member of the union's negotiating committee in the stalled bargaining with the NFL Management Council, the league's labor negotiators.
Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA, said there had been some talk of selective job actions, work stoppages by some but not all of the NFL teams or by a few of the better-known players.
But Garvey tended to discount such possibilities. "We believe it is a responsibility everyone should share," he told the Associated Press.
Murphy said the format for today's meeting would be a morning session of the nine-member executive committee followed by an afternoon meeting of the full board. Today's meeting originally was scheduled for yesterday, but moved back a day because NFLPA President Gene Upshaw of the Los Angeles Raiders was playing Green Bay in an exhibition game last night.
Union members already have voted authorization for the executive committee to call a strike, but it was considered likely that the committee would want to meet with the full board of representatives for a reading on player feelings.
In addition to Murphy and Upshaw, other members of the executive committee are Jeff Van Note of the Atlanta Falcans, Dan Jiggetts of the Chicago Bears, Elvin Bethea of the Houston Oilers, Stan White of the Detroit Lions, John Bunting of the Philadelphia Eagles, James Lofton of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Condon of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Today's meeting was called following the collapse of negotiations Wednesday, the first time the two sides had bargained since July 23.
Management negotiators had said they expected the NFLPA to respond to their July 13 proposal that would have raised minimum salaries and benefits and eased restrictions on player movement from one team to another. But the union, contending that the management offer was little more than a rewrite of the old contract that expired July 15, insisted that management negotiate on the union demand that the players divide 55 percent of the NFL gross income.
Management has said it never will agree to a pay scale based on a percentage of gross income.