NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL in conjunction with the NFL Players Association has established the first NFL Player Advisory Council to advise the commissioner on a regular basis on a wide range of issues that affect players.
The six members of the council were selected by the NFLPA. It is comprised of safety DONOVIN DARIUS of the Jacksonville Jaguars, fullback TONY RICHARDSON of the Minnesota Vikings, center JEFF SATURDAY of the Indianapolis Colts, linebacker TAKEO SPIKES of the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver JAMES THRASH of the Washington Redskins, and free-agent safety TROY VINCENT, who is president of the NFL Players Association.
The Player Advisory Council will meet regularly throughout the year with Commissioner Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director GENE UPSHAW to discuss competition on the field, player safety, medical and health issues, player conduct, retired player issues, and other matters.
"It is important that we know the perspective of players on issues that impact our game and our league," said Goodell. "We all share the same goal of improving the NFL in every way we can. Veteran leadership is critically important for our teams in many areas. These outstanding veterans can help the entire league just as they help their teams."
"This is the first time in NFL history that a commissioner has used a group of current players in an advisory capacity," said Upshaw. "The players are a great resource for our game and this is a direct way of getting their input. This is a good example of how the new commissioner is leading through strong communication. We appreciate what he is doing."
Members of the NFL Player Advisory Council:
DONOVIN DARIUS, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
YEARS IN NFL: 10
HOMETOWN: Camden, NJ
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Has more starts than any defensive player in Jaguars history (115)…Led Jacksonville's defensive backfield in tackles each of his first seven seasons...Has spoken at multiple NFL Rookie Symposiums as veteran in small player breakout groups to facilitate discussion…Hosts football camp in Jacksonville each summer…Established a foundation to benefit children…Supports numerous Jaguars charitable and community efforts and was team's United Way spokesperson in 2002.
TONY RICHARDSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
YEARS IN NFL: 13
HOMETOWN: Daleville, AL
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Voted NFL "Good Guy" by Sporting News three times…Widespread charitable community efforts include work with Special Olympics and The Dictionary Project (45,000 dictionaries to kids)…Toured Sri Lanka after tsunami…Honored in 2005 by National Conference for Community and Justice…Has taken part in all aspects of NFL Player Development – earning undergrad and MBA degrees and participating in internship program…Two-time Pro Bowl selection…Spent first 11 seasons with Kansas City and blocked for Pro Bowl running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. Played nine games for Vikings last year before being placed on injured reserve with forearm injury…Born in Frankfurt, Germany while his father, Sergeant Major Ben Richardson, was stationed there with the U.S. Army. Moved to U.S. permanently in seventh grade. His sister, Shonn, is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army.
JEFF SATURDAY, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
YEARS IN NFL: 9
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Selected for Pro Bowl last two seasons…A fixture on the Colts' offensive line for seven years, Saturday and Peyton Manning have started 109 games together, the most among any current center-quarterback tandem in the league...Instructor for Colts 101 and 201 annual women's football clinic...Involved with D.R.E.A.M. Alive, Inc., a public charity committed to improving the quality of life for underserved youth in Indianapolis that was founded by teammate Tarik Glenn...Participated in the 2004 "Miracle Ride" fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and has worked with the hospital to develop a reading program that allows hospitalized children to watch various Colts players read books through Riley's television station…Supports Kids' Voice of Indiana, which provides legal resources, information, training and support for child-service professionals.
TAKEO SPIKES, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
YEARS IN NFL: 10
HOMETOWN: Sandersville, GA
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Traded from Buffalo to Philadelphia on March 26…Earned his first two Pro Bowl invitations in his first two seasons with the Bills (2003-04). Helped lead the Bills' defense to the No. 2 ranking in the NFL in 2003 and 2004 and posted 100-tackle seasons both years…Selected as Buffalo's 2006 Ed Block Courage Award winner…In May 2006, Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo awarded Spikes with the Champion for Children Award for his volunteer service to the hospital…Left Auburn one year early to enter the NFL draft.
JAMES THRASH, WASHINGTON REDSKINS
YEARS IN NFL: 11
HOMETOWN: Wewoka, OK
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Has 272 catches for 3,458 yards with 19 touchdowns in 137 games for Philadelphia and Washington. Played in 16 games last season for Washington, catching 12 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown…In 2000, was the Redskins' Ed Block Courage Award recipient and was named the team's Unsung Hero Award winner…Is active in CAUSE Ministries – Christian Athletes United for Spiritual Empowerment…Graduated from Missouri Southern in spring of 2001 with degree in criminal justice via online courses offered by school. Has participated in internship with Loudoun County (VA) Sheriff's Department.
TROY VINCENT, FREE AGENT
YEARS IN NFL: 16
HOMETOWN: Trenton, NJ
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: President of NFL Players Association…Has 47 interceptions in 207 games for Miami, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Washington. Played in nine games with Washington last year and was named the NFC Special Teams Player of Week 9 when he blocked Dallas' potential game-winning field goal and helped set up Washington's winning kick at the end of regulation…Helped develop the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program (now in its third year)…Owns all or part of several successful business ventures…First active player to serve on National Board of Directors for Pop Warner Football…Named Walter Payton NFL Man of Year in 2002…Heads "Love Thy Neighbor Development and Opportunity Corporation" based in Trenton…Five-time Pro Bowl selection.