It is mid-December in downtown Washington, and DeMaurice Smith is sitting on a black leather chair in his eighth-floor corner office at the NFL Players Association headquarters. Beyond the wall of windows behind his large desk, snow is falling. This has created a crisis on the streets below. No Eastern metropolis deals with snow more poorly than the nation’s capital. When a storm hits, gridlock isn’t limited to Congress.
Smith, 47, who is completing his second year as the union’s executive director, looks neither harried nor hurried. He’s wearing slacks and a V-neck sweater on this casual Friday as he leafs through files. Earlier in the day he spent 20 minutes on a conference call with four retired players who wanted details on the status of a new collective bargaining agreement, and now he’s seeking specific information to support one of his talking points.
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