- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - The NFL had hoped Friday’s seminar for general managers and other team executives would be spent discussing a labor agreement ratified by both players and owners.

Instead, with players declining to vote on a proposed deal on Thursday night, the executives could only make sketchy plans.

The lockout continues.

“As far as I know,” said Broncos chief of football operations John Elway. “We were told there’s a lockout still in place as far as the way we handle it, the way we’re supposed to handle it.”

No deal. No football _ at least not yet.

“We’re still in the same place we were,” Elway said.

Executives from each team met for about four hours at an Atlanta airport hotel. The topic was the tentative 10-year agreement approved by owners on Thursday night.

Owners want the players to approve their proposal, which would lead to the end of the lockout. But general managers were leaving Atlanta without knowing when they can begin negotiations with free agents.

There also is no firm date for opening training camps.

“The nature of our business is there’s always surprises and you have to be flexible,” said Carolina general manager Marty Hurney. “I think that applies right now more than any.”

The version of the labor agreement that owners approved Thursday called for club facilities to open their doors for voluntary training on Saturday. But an Atlanta Falcons official said the team now is not expecting any players on Saturday.

While awaiting the players’ vote, GMs were bracing for an accelerated free agency period which could overlap the start of training camp.


“I don’t know whether exciting is the right word,” Hurney said.

“Obviously everybody has spent time preparing. That’s what we do. Now it’s just waiting. Be flexible and wait and see what happens.”

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