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“The time was just too short,” Goodell said.

The owners pored over details of the proposed settlement for some nine hours, first breaking for lunch, then sending for dinner before a vote finally was taken. Every team approved it except the Oakland Raiders, who abstained.

Afterward, no one seemed in a celebratory mood. It sounded more like relief.

“These things, by their very nature, aren’t supposed to make you necessarily happy when you walk out the door. It was a negotiation,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I don’t mean to sound negative, but it isn’t exactly like Christmas has come along here.”

Instead, Jones and his fellow owners called if a fair process involving plenty of give-and-take on both sides.

“It’s been long and at times has been very, very difficult,” said Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers. “We’re confident that the players and the teams have arrived at a good place. We think we have a fair, balanced agreement.”

But George Wilson, the player representative for the Buffalo Bills, called the owners’ vote and subsequent news conference “an attempt to break the spirits of our men and to fracture the solidarity that we’ve exemplified thus far.”

He said the deal approved by the owners included provisions the players haven’t even seen, which is why no vote was taken during a conference call Thursday night.

“Ultimately, the guys felt like this thing is being force-fed to us, that it’s being shoved down our throats,” Wilson told The Associated Press. “And the way everything transpired this evening, in a sense, was trying to add more pressure to the situation and force us to accept this deal without really being able to see all the details of what they voted on.”

Clearly, the basic outline of the proposed agreement _ much of which was agreed upon a week ago _ can still produce a deal acceptable to both owners and players. Maybe, given all the enmity displayed during the four-month work stoppage, it was farfetched to think everything would go smoothly at the end.

“I don’t think this deal is blown up,” Wilson said. “We can definitely work through these issues.”

The fans are tired of all the labor talk. They’re just ready for some football.

“Finally,” said Dave Gower of Knoxville, Tenn., who just happened to be staying at the hotel where the owners met. “I don’t understand why it took so long. I hope the players take it and run with it.”

Packers president Mark Murphy said no one was trying to pull a fast one on the players, or pressure them into accepting an owner-friendly framework for divvying up more than $9 billion in annual revenues. He also dismissed the idea of going back to the bargaining table.

“We put our pens down,” Murphy said. “We’ve negotiated. We’ve been negotiating in good faith with the union, we reached agreement on all the key points. They’re voting on the same thing that we ratified.”

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