- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2011

A sampling of comments about the collapse of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players.

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“It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.” _ NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, on the league’s offer to the union in a letter to fans.

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“I will tell you this. Any business where two partners don’t trust each other, any business where one party says you need to do x, y and z because I told you is a business that is not only not run well, it is a business that can never be as successful as it can be.” _ DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFLPA, which dissolved late Friday afternoon.

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“The union left a very good deal on the table including financial disclosure of audited NFL n club profitability not even shared with clubs!”

“I guess D Smith wants to one up my old friend Gene Upshaw.” _ Colts owner Jim Irsay on his Twitter account, referring to the former union chief.

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“If someone’s telling you to give money back and they’re not giving you proof that they’re losing money, then it’s hard to say, ‘OK, let’s make a deal’ on the merits of trust …” _ Buffalo Bills safety and NFLPA player representative George Wilson.

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“I think I speak for every fan by saying that I am disappointed that it came to this. I hope both parties can find a way to come back to the bargaining table and resolve their differences. As I’ve said before _ and still believe _ transparency and good-faith negotiations should be able to solve this stalemate and avoid imposing collateral damage on innocent Americans whose economic livelihoods depend on professional football.” _ Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia.

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“I don’t know who wins. Decertification, I disagree with it. I think there is enough (money) in the game they can split it up and be happy. But evidently they don’t feel that way.” _ Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.

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“Fans, players, everybody needs to take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. The season doesn’t start until September. … If we get to July, August and September and start losing games, then I can understand people getting emotional. But it’s March. Take a deep breath.” _ Wilson.

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“This is a time for our fans not to be discouraged. … It has been actually a real learning experience for all of us. In due course, we’ll have an agreement.” _ Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, co-chairman of the NFL owners’ labor committee.

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