- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2011

The 32 player representatives to the NFL Players Association on Monday afternoon unanimously approved a labor agreement that will end the owners’ lockout and ensure labor peace for the foreseeable future.

NFLPA assistant executive director for external affairs George Atallah announced the results of the vote on his Twitter account, and executive director DeMaurice Smith emerged from the NFLPA’s Washington office minutes later to briefly address the media. 

“To our fans, I know that you love this game as much as I do, and I know that it has been a very long process since the day that we stood here that night in March [when the lockout was instituted],” Smith said. “But our guys stood together when nobody thought we would, and football is back because of it.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell and a handful of owners joined Smith and several players outside the NFLPA offices Monday afternoon, and representatives from both sides made a point to appeal to the fans.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft began his remarks by apologizing to the fan base for months of headlines involving only the business of football, and Goodell echoed those sentiments. 

We know what we did to frustrate our fans over the last several months,” Goodell said. “They want football, and our job is to give them football.”

The NFL is expected Monday afternoon to release the official timeline for restarting league business, which has been on hold since the lockout began on March 12. The Redskins are expected to follow that announcement by releasing an official training camp schedule.

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