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The biggest point of contention, of course, is money.

Players currently receive 59.6 percent of designated NFL revenues, a number agreed to in 2006. The owners say that’s too much, arguing they have huge debts from building stadiums and starting up the NFL Network and other ventures, making it impossible to be profitable.

But money isn’t the only issue.

On Tuesday, the owners gave union executives their first formal proposal for a new 18-game regular season.

One day earlier, Colts President Bill Polian said the expanded season was a “fait accompli.” He clarified those remarks Wednesday by telling ESPN Radio: “I was very imprecise. I said that the 18-game season was a fait accompli and … it isn’t. It is subject to lengthy discussion in detail with the players' association.”

All the AFL-CIO claims it wants to do is help.

“Millions of our hard-working members love professional football, and a great many of them also rely upon the game for their economic health,” Trumka wrote. “We stand ready to assist in reaching a collectively-bargained solution.”