True to its name, the NFL Players Association’s job is to represent players across the National Football League. No matter if when it comes to wages, legal counsel (just think Tom Brady versus the NFL during Deflategate) or simply monitoring if teams act within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA, in its own words, assures “proper recognition and representation of players’ interests.”
Since the union represents more than 2,000 professional football players spread across 32 teams, it also needs representatives within each franchise. Today, those within the New England Patriots have been announced by the NFLPA:
WR Matthew Slater: Player representative
FS Devin McCourty: Alternate
LS Joe Cardona: Alternate
OL Ted Karras: Alternate
Seeing these four players represent New England’s players within the NFLPA speaks for the respect they enjoy among their teammates. In the cases of McCourty and Slater, this is nothing new: the two veterans have served as team captains since 2011 and are among the Patriots’ leaders on and off the field. Cardona, meanwhile, is also no surprise considering that he recently received the Ron Burton Community Service Award.
Ted Karras being on the list, on the other hand, is a minor surprise. The third-year offensive lineman is a depth player and as such only irregularly used on the field, but his peers apparently think highly enough of the 25-year old for him to represent them in the union – if only as an alternate for Slater.