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“I don’t think we’ve minced our words in terms of our guys understanding that this was a moment that we expected to find ourselves in starting over two years ago,” Fisher said. “We expected to be here, we anticipated that, we felt like our owners were strong enough in their position … that they’d be possibly willing to risk time lost in the season to get the things they needed in this particular round of collective bargaining.”

Hunter and Fisher likely will have to address the concept of decertification during their presentation. NFL players dissolved their union this year so they could file an antitrust lawsuit against the league, though they ultimately resolved their dispute with owners.

Hunter’s preferred course has been to wait for a ruling on a charge the union filed against the league with the National Labor Relations Board for unfair bargaining practices.

“We’ve never really had any discussions about decertification,” Hunter said. “As you’re aware, we’ve obviously been experiencing some pressure, at least in the media, from some of the agents about decertification. But that’s not a message that’s crossed our lips.”

Hunter added he hoped for a ruling from the NLRB by the end of this month.

That would be too late to save the opening of training camps, but time remains to open the regular season as scheduled on Nov. 1. Hunter hopes that at some point a split will develop between big-market and small-market owners _ if it’s not already there _ and the big spenders who have more incentive to play without massive changes to the structure will push for a settlement.

“I think there’s probably a division of interest within their group, and I think trying to develop a consensus within the group is the issue,” he said.

In the meantime, Fisher is instructing players to train as normal.

“Continue to prepare yourself physically and mentally for whatever circumstances play out, and if we start on time, you should be physically ready to go,” he said. “The way it looks right now we may not start on time, and you should continue to make the decisions and the plans accordingly to your individual situation.”


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