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November 03, 1987

Bruce Matthews, unsigned Houston Oiler offensive tackle from USC, lost a court bid to negotiate a new contract with another team when a Los Angeles judge ruled that the National Football League's expired contract with the players' union forbids such talks.

In a $10-million suit filed in U.S. District Court last Thursday, Matthews, 26, whose contract expired Feb. 1, argued that he was free to enter into talks with other teams. He claimed that provisions of the NFL's 1982 collective bargaining agreement restricting such negotiations did not apply because the agreement expired with September's strike.

But U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian ruled that the collective bargaining agreement still applies to Matthews since the dispute arose before it expired.

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