The NFL Players Assn. voted Sunday to retain DeMaurice Smith as their executive director, giving him is third three-year term as the head of the union.
Smith was re-elected on just one ballot after receiving the majority of votes among the nine candidates. Former NFL players Jason Belser, Sean Gilbert and Robert Griffith were among those trying to unseat Smith. The vote among the board of player representatives was held at the union's annual meeting in Kapalua, Hawaii.
According to the Associated Press, Smith told the players he was “proud to represent the best athletes in the world."
Eric Winston, NFLPA president, said: "We look forward to continue working with DeMaurice Smith to make our union stronger."
The union did not announce the vote totals. Smith needed only 16 votes for a majority because the Buffalo Bills did not have a player rep in attendance.
Smith has held the union's executive director post since 2009 and helped the NFLPA navigate through a four-month lockout in 2011. He was criticized by some players for negotiating a 10-year collective bargaining agreement that weighed in favor of team owners.
Still, Smith and the union have been successful in overturning a couple of high-profile player suspensions in recent months. The NFL-issued suspensions of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson were dissolved after the NFLPA filed appeals.