SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Don't feel too badly for Bryan Kehl. The former BYU and current St. Louis Rams linebacker is managing to enjoy himself during the NFL lockout.
"I've been living here in Utah -- in paradise," said Kehl at a recent golf tournament at the Salt Lake Country Club. "Normally, I would have just finished up about a three month off-season training program, which I don't really like."
Even though the lockout is in its fourth month, Kehl, who will make $555,000 with the Rams this season, isn't hurting too much financially -- yet.
"What a lot of people don't realize is players don't really get paid in the off-season," said Kehl, who played his first two seasons with the New York Giants before signing with the Rams in 2010. "They think that we've been missing checks, but we really haven't. They break down our salary 17 times, and we get a game check each week. So, we haven't been missing out on money, just the off-season program. So, nobody's nervous right now. But if August rolls around, and we start missing those games and missing the game checks, then it's going to be a different story."
NFL training camps usually open in late July, while preseason games start in early August. If some preseason games are lost, Kehl isn't going to shed too many tears.
"Nobody likes the preseason," said Kehl, who was a a first team all-Mountain West Conference linebacker at BYU in 2007. "If they get a deal done and we roll into camp in mid-August, play one or two preseason games, I think everybody would be pretty happy. Deals get done when there's pressure on, and the pressure is on now because everybody loses if games are missed."
As for the disgruntled NFL fans, Kehl says he feels their pain.
"I can see their frustration," he said. "They see these billionaires arguing with the millionaires. The NFL is the most popular sport in this country. It's gained so much momentum, and if we lose even just a few games, that just kills some of that momentum. Some of the fans would go away, some of the fans would get mad."
So, the lesson to be learned from all of this?
"Don't kill the golden goose," Kehl said. "I hope the people that matter realize that, and make some concessions and get a deal done."