Both Saints tight end Ben Watson and Ryan Clark, a Marrero native who played football at Archbishop Shaw and LSU prior to making it to the pros as an undrafted free agent in 2002, came up short in the election for the position of NFL Players Association president on Wednesday.
The two finalists with local ties were beat out by free-agent tackle Eric Winston, who has previously been a player rep for the Chiefs, the NFLPA announced. Team player reps chose Winston to replace outgoing union president Domonique Foxworth, who completed a two-year term and wasn’t eligible for another one because he wasn’t on an NFL roster at the start of the 2013 season after retiring.
Watson sat on the union’s executive committee and will remain a part of it, the NFLPA said. Clark, a safety, will be a new member of the executive committee — he has been a player representative for the Steelers in the past, though he was a free agent at the time of the election.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and former New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita had been members of the executive committee, but they won’t be returning, the NFLPA said.
Brees, in a statement, said: “I ... will always be a strong voice and outspoken advocate for players, their families, and the Union. I am excited to see young leaders in this league step into this role and continue to advance the cause of our Union and the future of our league.”
Brees on Tuesday had told USA Today’s Tom Pelissero and Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo he didn’t think he’d get back on the committee, in part because he and his wife are expecting their fourth child and because most of his time is consumed fulfilling the duties of a starting quarterback.
Fujita, like Foxworth, has retired.
Watson came to the Saints in free agency in 2013 from Cleveland. He had 19 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns for New Orleans last year.
Meanwhile, Clark helped the Steelers win a Super Bowl at the end of the 2008 season and helped them win an AFC Championship at the end of the 2010 campaign.
Both Watson and Clark immediately sent out their congratulations to Winston via Twitter.
Joining Watson and Clark as executive committee members are Lorenzo Alexander (Cardinals), Zak DeOssie (Giants), Jay Feely (Cardinals), Mark Herzlich (Giants), Adam Vinatieri (Colts), Scott Wells (Rams), Matt Hasselbeck (Colts) and Brian Waters (free agent).
Hasselbeck and Waters, like Watson, were re-elected. The rest, like Clark, were elected for the first time.
This post has been updated since it was first published to provide more details.