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NFL team owners approve new CBA
The NFL labor dispute is half over.
League owners voted Thursday to approve a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with its players. The vote was 31-0. The Raiders abstained.
"We've crafted a long-term agreement that can be good for the game of football," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
However, the deal is contingent upon NFL Players Association ratification.
The NFLPA held a conference call among its player representatives for a possible vote on the CBA, but a team representative told FOXSports.com that owners were informed there would be no player vote Thursday night.
Although an agreement appears imminent, the lost time will have an affect on the preseason schedule.
"We are unfortunately going to have to cancel the Hall of Fame Game," said Goodell, noting there's not enough time for teams to prepare.
Goodell, though, stressed the desire to salvage a mostly complete schedule.
"There's an urgency to this," he said. "We want to have a full 2011 season that includes the four preseason games. We're up against the wall."
Mark Murphy, president of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, said, “We’re just excited about it. We think it’s a win-win. There are a lot of positives on both sides of this, a lot of compromise, and to me, the best thing is it allows us to have a full preseason as well as a full regular season.
"So it’s just a great thing, and hopefully the players will ratify it soon.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemed less enthusiastic, perhaps because his franchise made considerable concessions in the area of revenue sharing.
"I'm proud that we are basically finished here," Jones said, "but these things, by their very nature, are not supposed to make you necessarily happy when you walk out the door.
"Because it was a negotiation, and by that very nature, you are supposed to leave some of it behind, or some of you behind. And that's what happened here.
“I don't mean to sound negative, but it isn't exactly like Christmas has come along."
Both sides continued to haggle most of the day Thursday about details that threatened to derail the agreement.
Among the issues is believed to be the timing of the recertification of the NFLPA as a union and an agreement by all 10 of the Brady v. NFL plaintiffs to drop pending litigation. CBSSports.com reported Wednesday night that two plaintiffs — New England guard Logan Mankins and San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson — want $10 million each as compensation for doing so.
"We would expect that as part of this agreement, litigation will be dismissed, disputes will be resolved and we will go for the next 10 years as business partners for the betterment of the game," said the NFL's chief negotiator Jeff Pash.
Perhaps more daunting is the complexity of the NFLPA’s ability to quickly recertify as a union through the vote of 1,900-plus NFL players, which might be contingent for a deal to be finalized. The longer the process takes, the greater the likelihood preseason games would be canceled and the financial model of the proposed CBA would be jeopardized.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said early Thursday he is “optimistic” the NFLPA will accept CBA terms that would end the league’s 128-day lockout
“The commissioner is very positive, and I think the owners are very positive,” Blank said Thursday morning before attending the meeting that resulted in CBA approval. “We’re looking forward to a deal that will end this lockout and get to football, which is what America, the owners and players want.”
Senior NFL editor Nancy Gay contributed to this report.