Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 9/12/2006 07:40:00 AM

The NFL and Trade Secrets

In a sign of the season, AOL Sports is reporting that the New England Patriots signed a Buffalo Bills practice squad wide receiver only to pump him for his Buffalo Bills team trade secrets for a week and then release him.

The New England Patriots signed Jonathan Smith away from the Bills a week ago, then cut him before Sunday's game between the two teams. Some of Smith's former Bills teammates are saying the Patriots never really wanted Smith, and that they simply brought him along to pump him for information about the Bills' playbook.

According to author, Michael David Smith (no relation to Jonathan, I'm betting), the "league's eight-man practice squads exist to enhance player development, but they'll quickly turn into little more than espionage units if everyone is allowed to join another roster just long enough to give information about an opponent."

Does the NFL's collective bargaining agreement allows for separate confidentiality agreements with players? (It doesn't, I'm guessing.)

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