This one deserves to make the front page. I wrote recently about Saturday’s importance to NFL labor peace, but this really puts it in perspective.
Saturday grew into such a role of leadership within the negotiations that he virtually couldn’t have excused himself from the talks, even if he wanted to at times. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones grew to trust Saturday so much that he not once, but twice let Saturday use his corporate jet to fly home to Amelia Island, Fla., during breaks from negotiations. Jones and Saturday actually rode together on the plane coming from a negotiation session in Minnesota in June, with Jones headed for a vacation home in Destin, Fla. And during the final stage of the CBA talks in July, Jones insisted that Saturday use his jet to fly alone from New York City to Amelia Island to spend the weekend with his family.
“I truly felt so sensitive to the fact that he was taking so much of his offseason time away from home, with hours and hours and weeks and weeks invested in the negotiation process,” Jones told me Thursday morning on the phone. “It’s one thing when you’ve done these types of meetings for years, but something else when you’ve got young children and you’re away for that long.