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With Goodell extended, all eyes turn to NFLPA and De Smith

BET Honors 2012 - Pre-Honors Dinner

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Demaurice Smith attends the BET Honors 2012 Pre-Honors dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on January 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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The lockout ended in late July. In December, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received a reward in the form of seven years of job security.

In contrast, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has a contract that is due to expire in roughly seven weeks.

It’s unknown whether the players will choose to keep Smith. Before a fight for the job can crystallize, someone will have to emerge as an alternative candidate. If no one else runs against Smith, he’ll get the extension by default.

Regardless of how it plays out, the ball will get rolling soon. The NFLPA holds an annual press conference during Super Bowl week, and the topic of De Smith’s job security definitely will be an issue, especially in light of Goodell’s extension.

As to the potential impact of Goodell’s extension on the willingness of the players to keep Smith, it could go either way. On one hand, the players could perceive that the owners believe they “won” the work stoppage, which would make the players leery about keeping Smith. On the other hand, the players could feel compelled to publicly embrace Smith on an “us, too” basis in order to justify their past faith in De Smith.