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Blank optimistic owners will ratify CBA


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Blank optimistic owners will ratify CBA

By Mike Wilkening, ProFootballWeekly.com

ATLANTA — Falcons owner Arthur Blank indicated Thursday morning he believes owners had the votes necessary to ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement later today, and he is hopeful players will do the same.

"I'm optimistic we'll get their approval, hopefully today," Blank said of the NFLPA. "If not today, the league has the ability to ratify the agreement (from) the owners' perspective subject to the players obviously approving it as well."

Blank noted that one-quarter of the owners served on the league's labor committee and that the collective ownership was educated on the terms of the deal.

"I think there's not going to be any surprises in terms of what the deal terms are from an ownership perspective," Blank said. "So I expect a great majority to support the work that the league has done, staff has done, the owners have done, in cooperation with the NFLPA."

Blank said he didn't believe the NFLPA not voting on the CBA Wednesday was a sign of the players having any major misgivings about the deal.

"I think when you get to a deal as complex as this, 400 pages, there's always some issues, dotting i's, crossing t's, that have to be wrapped up at the last minute," he said.

Blank indicated he's looking forward to the lockout being over, and potentially soon.

"I'm pleased we are (where we) are today, and I'm looking forward to getting to know our players again back on the football field," he said.


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I mean not to offend anyone but did you really think a room full of men who barely attended, let alone finished college could understand 400 pages of a CBA?

You have a bunch of athletes that most weren't the brightest trying to figure something out this complex and then vote on it. I'm not surprised but I don't think there are significant changes leading to another 2 weeks but who knows

Edited by vel
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NFL owners vote for tentative deal

By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP)—NFL owners voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative 10-year agreement to end the lockout Thursday, pending player approval.

The vote was 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining from the ratification, which came after a full day of meetings at an Atlanta-area hotel.

Players still had to sign off on the deal—and they must re-establish their union, the NFL said. Players didn’t vote on a full pact Wednesday because there were issues that had not been resolved. They planned to have a conference call later Thursday.

“Hopefully, we can all work quickly, expeditiously, to get this agreement done,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “It is time to get back to football. That’s what everybody here wants to do.”

The four-month lockout is the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987. One casualty was the first game on the preseason schedule—the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game between Chicago and St. Louis was canceled Thursday.

“The time was just too tight,” Goodell said. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to play the game this year.”

Team facilities will open Saturday, and the new league year will begin Wednesday, he said—assuming the players approve the agreement, too.

The owners locked out players on March 12. During that time, teams were not allowed to communicate with current NFL players; players—including those drafted in April—could not be signed; and teams did not pay for players’ health insurance.


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Seems like its not the owners its the players holding the deal up

I just hope the players aren't as stubbornly bull-headed as NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, whose comments are bolded in red in the article below:

"Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told NFL Network that he is optimistic his fellow owners, who are meeting in Atlanta, will approve a new collective bargaining agreement with the players Thursday.

"I'm optimistic that we'll get a call for a vote today, and I'm optimistic that the ownership will approve a deal today," Blank said just before the owners began meeting at 10 a.m. ET. "Whether or not the players will have approved it before we vote, I'm not sure."

On Wednesday, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said he expected the league and its players to soon reach a deal that would end the four-month-old lockout.

"It's obviously a complicated agreement, but I think both sides are at the point where they can close, they should close, and we should be in a position to take votes," Pash said.

The 32 player representatives did vote Wednesday at NFL Players Association's headquarters in Washington, but it wasn't the type of vote that was expected. Instead of simply approving the draft that lawyers and staff had been working on for the last month, the reps conditionally passed it to the Brady plaintiffs, sources told NFL Network reporter Albert Breer.

In other words, the proposal will go to the 10 plaintiffs involved in the Brady antitrust case only if the league meets certain conditions in settling that piece of litigation, and also the TV rights fees case, in which players accused owners of setting up a $4 billion lockout-insurance fund.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Tyson Clabo told The Associated Press as he left the nearly 10-hour meeting.

The players also empowered NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, their legal counsel and the 13-man executive committee to work out the remaining issues, according to sources. One is the players' pursuit of $320 million in benefits lost as part of the 2010 uncapped-year rules, which were negotiated in the 2006 labor deal.

Smith and commissioner Roger Goodell have stayed in close and regular contact throughout these negotiations and have maintained close conversations even at times when the sides were not meeting.

Throughout this week, for instance, numerous sources tell NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, the men have held after-hours discussions of the remaining issues at night, or in the morning, trying to bridge the remaining gaps and forge a global settlement.

The good news is, outside of a few minor issues, the players were amenable to terms that would serve as a new labor deal, should the NFLPA re-certify as a union. The Brady plantiffs -- which include quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees -- also would have to sign off for any settlement to be reached.

New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins and San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, two of the 10 plaintiffs, are holding strong to their request for $10 million as part of the antitrust settlement, sources told Breer on Thursday. That's one of a number of issues that relate to the plaintiffs in that case.

The NFLPA executive committee will not recommend that player reps vote on any deal until both lawsuits are resolved, multiple sources told La Canfora, and it's unknown when that will be.

"I think that's the healthy outcome," Pash said, "to have a complete, comprehensive, global agreement that settles all the disputes and puts us on a path where we are going forward together as business partners, the way it should be, rather that going forward with one hand and fighting over something that should be in the past."

Pash said he wasn't worried about the players' decision Wednesday.

"It doesn't impact it at all," Pash said. "We're going to continue to work with the players. We'll find out if there are issues that still need to be negotiated, and we're going to work cooperatively with them through the evening and try to have something in place that both sides can vote on tomorrow morning."

Members of the NFL's labor committee will discuss any concerns and go over any questions with lawyers and members of the NFLPA, if needed. And a future vote by player reps could be taken via conference call or other means.

"I can't speak for what was going on in their caucus, but it's a long, complicated agreement, and there are a lot of issues," Pash said. "We're talking about entering into an agreement that would last for quite a few years, hopefully bring a lot of stability to our relationship for many years to come, and understandably, that is something that people want to take their time and think through."

Before Wednesday's meeting, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae cautioned not to assume the lockout will be over by the weekend, saying his group was "not tied" to a deadline for having a deal done by Thursday.

"We want to go back to work, but we will not agree to a deal unless it's the best deal for the players," Mawae said.

"Our goal today is to see what is on the table and discuss outlying issues," he added. "The players are not tied to a July 21 timeline. Our timeline is that which gives us the best deal for the players -- today, tomorrow or whatever it might be."

If the lockout is going to end in time to keep the preseason completely intact, the parties almost certainly must ratify the deal by Thursday. The St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears are scheduled to open the preseason Aug. 7 in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio -- leaving the league and players a timeline that Pash called "tight."

"It would be pretty challenging," Pash said when asked if the game will be played. "That's one of the things we'll have to focus on."

Goodell and nine of the 10 members of the labor committee gathered at an Atlanta airport hotel Wednesday to go over the final terms of a settlement that lawyers have been hashing out for weeks. The owners broke up for the evening, but Goodell, members of the NFL legal team and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remained to continue talks.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is on the labor committee, didn't participate in the five-hour meeting because his wife died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

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Kraft's son, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, will represent the family at Thursday's meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Jonathan Kraft will return home Friday for his mother's funeral service, according to the team.

If owners do vote Thursday, at least 24 would need to OK the deal. If it's also passed by the players, team executives would be schooled later that day and Friday in Atlanta in the guidelines and how to apply them. Topics would include the 2011 NFL calendar, rookie salary system and new free-agency rules.

Several coaches and general managers have said they hope players can report to team facilities immediately to take physicals and get re-acquainted. Training camps would start as soon as next week if a deal is ratified, and teams would like a few days to iron out those details before taking the field.

A frenzy of player activity, maybe unprecedented, also is in store. Teams should learn soon how quickly they can sign draft picks, negotiate with their own free agents, sign undrafted rookies, make trades, cut players and sign free agents.

NFL Network reporter Albert Breer, NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche and The Associated Press contributed to this report."

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