Colts’ Irsay says he expects owner vote Thursday

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says he expects NFL teams to vote Thursday on a tentative deal to end the league’s labor dispute.

He also says there was some discord among owners during more than three hours of discussions about the proposed settlement at a hotel near Atlanta’s airport.

Irsay says, “The morning gets a little ruined by not getting all the things you hoped to get when you hear the whole thing.”

The league has said it hopes to have an agreement ready for ratification on Thursday. At least 24 of 32 owners would need to OK the deal.

Players had been expected to vote Wednesday on a full proposal to settle the dispute, but they didn’t.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NFL owners met Thursday to discuss _ and possibly vote on _ a tentative deal to end the lockout that began in March.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll get approval,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said on his way into the session at a hotel near Atlanta’s airport. “My understanding is that the owners will have the opportunity to ratify the agreement today, even if the players do not approve it today.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell was at Thursday’s session. The league has said it hopes to have a final agreement with players ready for ratification Thursday. At least 24 of 32 owners would need to OK the deal. If it’s passed by both sides, team executives would be schooled later Thursday and Friday in Atlanta on the deal’s guidelines and how to apply them; topics would include the 2011 NFL calendar, rookie salary system and new free agency rules.

Players had been expected to vote Wednesday on a full proposal to settle the labor dispute, but they did not.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press there was agreement among player representatives from 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.

Even after all acceptable terms are established, a deal would lead to a collective bargaining agreement only if NFL Players Association team reps recommend re-establishing the group as a union, which must be approved by a majority vote of the 1,900 players. Those votes probably would be done by conference call.

In March, when talks broke down and the old CBA expired, the NFLPA said it was dissolving itself as a union and instead becoming a trade association, a move that allowed Tom Brady and other players to sue the league under antitrust law. Only a union can sign off on a CBA.

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

After the owners’ labor committee met Wednesday, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said the sides would keep talking in hopes of finalizing a deal that is expected to last 10 years, although even that was not 100 percent certain as of Wednesday evening.

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