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NFL PLAYERS WANT SHARE OF FANTASY POT

NATIONAL FOOTBALL League players are no longer calling fantasy football players geeks.

They're too busy trying to collect fantasy players' money.

The National Football League Players Association predicted it will earn $1 million a season by 2000 charging fantasy-game operators for using players' names. The union is looking for its share of a market that's grown from two people drafting Bart Starr and Len Dawson into an estimated $50 million industry with 4 million to 6 million players and a Washington lobbyist.

"I think it's apparent that if there are people making money from names off the backs of players' jerseys, the players should get a piece of that," said Doug Allen, union assistant executive director.

The players' union has been trying to get paid for four years, angering entrepreneurs. When it started, the association had its lawyers threaten to sue operators if they didn't agree to come up with fees between $5,000 and $20,000, plus a share of profits. This fall, about 15 of 100 game operators -- mostly small companies -- are expected to pony up, the union said.

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