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Colts’ Irsay says he expects owner vote 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,” said Pash, the owners’ lead negotiator.
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.
Ten players _ including quarterbacks Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson and Patriots guard Logan Mankins _ filed their antitrust suit March 11. That was the day the country’s most popular sports league was thrown into limbo, and the owners locked out players hours later.
Also under discussion are how workman’s compensation claims will be resolved and the players’ demand that the NFL turn over $320 million in unpaid benefits from the 2010 season. Because there was no salary cap that season, the old CBA said NFL teams were not required to pay those benefits.
“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, rather that going forward with one hand and fighting over something that should be in the past,” Pash said.
If the four-month lockout _ the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987 _ is going to end in time to keep the preseason completely intact, the players and owners almost certainly must ratify the deal this week. The St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears are scheduled to open the preseason Aug. 7 in the Hall of Fame game.
Asked Wednesday night whether that exhibition game will be played, Pash replied: “It would be pretty challenging.”
AP National Writer Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer Charles Odum and AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd in College Park, Ga., contributed to this to report.
Follow Howard Fendrich at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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