Sports

Super Bowl: Jenkins' father found safe in Hawaii

Green Bay Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins was worried about his father after not hearing from him for more than a month.

Police said Thursday night that his dad is just fine in Hawaii.

A spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, Michelle Yu, said that officers contacted Darome Jenkins — performing a "welfare check" — following media reports and inquiries about his whereabouts.

Jenkins' older brother, Kris — a defensive tackle for the New York Jets — said in an e-mail that his father contacted Cullen Jenkins on Thursday after seeing some of the reports.

Cullen Jenkins is in Dallas preparing for the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and mentioned that he hadn't heard from his father since around Christmas. He also said he was leaving a ticket for his dad at Cowboys Stadium in case he showed up for Sunday's game.

"That's the thing that makes it difficult, because you really don't know," Cullen Jenkins said a few hours before hearing from his father. "I don't know if he's just being distant right now or has kind of pulled back from everybody, or who knows?"

Jenkins said it was strange not to hear from his father for so long because he and his brother are very close to their father, who raised them as a single dad in Ypsilanti, Mich.

"That's like the core of our family growing up," Jenkins said. "It was me, my Dad and my brother."

Jenkins recalled a conversation he had with his father in December through text messages.

"It wasn't an incident, but there was a discussion, and it wasn't a bad discussion by any means," Jenkins said. "He was talking a little bit about how he was feeling about certain things in the family, and maybe feeling a little left out and things like that. That's what makes this so difficult, you know, because you just don't know."

That's when all communication stopped between both Jenkins brothers and their father.

"I tried to contact him again," Cullen Jenkins said, "and his phone was off."

NFL, union disagree on franchise tag assignments — Go ahead and add franchise tags to the lengthy list of issues the NFL and its players disagree about.

The league is telling clubs they can place that designation on players whose contracts are expiring, even if there's no new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that ends March 3. The union sent a letter to agents to tell them the NFL is wrong about that.

"Our position is that you can franchise anyone you want, by whatever date you want, but if there is no CBA, the franchise tags will be meaningless," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said.

Arguing that the 2011 season does not fall under the current CBA, the union said in a statement that the "NFL has no valid basis for claiming the right to franchise players in 2011."

In response, league spokesman Greg Aiello said via e-mail: "We are still operating under the current agreement.... Franchise tags are always made before the start of the next league year. This is consistent with past seasons."

The franchise tag allows each team to prevent one player from becoming an unrestricted free agent by offering him a one-year contract that's worth 120 percent of his salary from the season before or the average of the five highest-paid players at his position, whichever is greater. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is among the players who would be affected this offseason.

The dispute is only one of many between owners and players

"The disagreements that we have are fundamental," Smith said.

The main issues include how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues; the owners' push to expand the regular season to 18 games; a rookie wage scale; benefits for retired players.

The two sides are scheduled to have their first formal bargaining session since November on Saturday.

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