The labor impasse between the National Football League and its locked-out players continues.

Imagine how much quicker things might be resolved if these people were subjected to the same financial stresses as the rest of us.

DATE: June 8, 2011

FROM: NFL owners

TO: All NFLPA members

RE: Changes to your health coverage

Greetings. As those of you who haven't suffered debilitating head trauma know, these are difficult times for our sport. We no longer are raking in the money. We now must scoop it up by hand.

During the last year, even if you exclude Jerry Jones' cosmetic surgeries, our health-care costs have quadrupled. New national mandates - hereinafter referred to as "Socialist Obamacare" - have required us to invest millions to institute death panels in each of our NFL cities.

These and other economic hardships have forced us to make some difficult decisions. Effective July 1, the following changes will be made to your medical coverage:

Trainers no longer will make on-the-field visits without a referral.

MRIs must be scheduled through your primary-care physician. There will be no exceptions. In addition, the club will not be responsible for tweeting the results.

Brand-name, performance-enhancing substances and all masking agents no longer will be covered by your prescription plan. We suggest that you ask your dealer whether generics are available.

In the future, should you require casts, bandages, cortisone, aspirin, or Breathe Rite strips, please make sure they are plan-approved, then schedule an appointment with your point-of-service clubhouse attendant no more than one week in advance. Remember, should you bleed in the locker room, you will be charged for any cleanup costs.

Due to the plethora of concussions in our sport, our new provider has stipulated that it will cover only those injuries suffered from the neck down. If, like Ray Lewis, you don't have a neck, coverage will start at the shoulders.

Ambulances and EMTs no longer will be stationed at every league game. Should you suffer an on-field injury that requires immediate attention and/or hospital treatment, stretchers and subway tokens will be available.

Cards will not be issued to the following: posses, entourages, love-children, baby-mamas, personal-website operators, and nutritionists.

Several provisions of your plan's drug-rehabilitation program have changed. Beginning July 1, those seeking therapy options must obtain form 1467(B) from their PCP, provide the results of at least two preapproved drug tests, and get a note from their mothers.

We regret these changes, but we remain convinced they will best serve the long-term health of the league, though clearly not of its players.

Shot put between 2 and 4

Since Comcast was successful in landing the Olympic TV rights for NBC, can we expect most events to take place several hours after their scheduled time?

New look for Penn State

When Pat Chambers, the youngest of 12 children, got the job as the new basketball coach in Happy Valley, it set a Nittany Lions basketball record - most brothers ever associated with Penn State basketball.

Sensible sequel

If the Eagles sign Plaxico Burress to catch passes from Michael Vick, can we assume that movie mogul Jeffrey Lurie's next film project will be another remake of The Longest Yard?

Brat with a bat

Bryce Harper, the much-hyped No. 1 pick of the Washington Nationals in the 2010 MLB draft, apparently is as obnoxious as he is rich.

Last weekend, after homering, Harper blew a kiss to the pitcher as he rounded the bases.

The first pitch in his next at-bat barely missed his swollen head.

League with a death wish

In case you're among the billions who haven't been following the Stanley Cup Finals, here's a recap:

Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron's finger.

Nathan Horton was carried off the ice senseless and on a stretcher after a late hit by Aaron Rome.

The teams combined for 145 penalty minutes in Game 3.

The NHL continues to wonder why no one cares.

NASCAR Note of the Week

NASCAR continues to morph into a high-speed version of roller derby.

Last week in Kansas City, Kan., after Kyle Busch, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, brushed against one of Richard Childress' trucks on the final turn, the owner tracked down the driver.

Childress proceeded to put Busch in a headlock and punch him in the face three times.

No word on whether Busch then went after him with a folding chair or petitioned for a steel-cage rematch.

Childress, 65, was fined $150,000.

"I wonder if Pop-Pop will get a senior-citizens discount on his fine?" his grandson tweeted.

- Frank Fitzpatrick

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Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068, ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com, or @philafitz on Twitter. Read his blog, "Giving 'em Fitz," at www.philly.com/fitz