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NFL lockout: Obstacles remain; players don’t vote on deal

NFLPA meeting lasts 10 hours

- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NFL players didn't vote Wednesday on a full proposal to settle the league's labor dispute, citing several outstanding issues, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.

The person said there was agreement among representatives of all 32 clubs on what items needed to be resolved before any offer would be accepted. A second person, also speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are supposed to be secret, said those players gave what was termed "conditional approval" of the proposal - as it stood Wednesday.

"We still have a lot of work to do," said Pro Bowl offensive lineman Tyson Clabo, who played for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

The meeting at the NFL Players Association headquarters in Washington lasted nearly 10 hours and included the group's executive committee and the team reps.

In Atlanta, where the owners' labor committee met, general counsel Jeff Pash said the sides would talk through the night in hopes of having a final agreement ready to go Thursday.

"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, the owners' lead negotiator, said after a five-hour session at a hotel near Atlanta's airport.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined the meeting of nine of the 10 members of the labor committee, which hoped to recommend a finalized proposal to all club owners, who are due there Thursday.

Remaining issues are believed to include how to set aside three pending court cases: the players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in federal court in Minnesota; the TV networks case, in which players accused owners of setting up $4 billion in "lockout insurance," money that the league would receive even if there were no games played in 2011; and a collusion case, in which players said owners conspired to restrict salaries last offseason.

"I think that's the healthy outcome: 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," Pash said.

Asked whether owners would consider approving an agreement Thursday, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson smiled and said: "I'm always ready for a vote."

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