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NFL owners approve possible labor agreement, players say 'not so fast'

7/22/2011, 12:35 a.m.

Are you ready for some football? The National Football League (NFL) might be.

NFL owners have approved a 10-year labor agreement with the NFL Players Association on Thursday and left it up to the players to cast their vote and get the 2011 season (and free-agent signing spree) under way. Owners voted 31-0 (Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis abstained from voting) to accept the collective bargaining agreement after a long day of meetings in Atlanta. As part of the new deal, which goes through the 2020 season, players would recieve 48 percent of revenue in the first portion of deal, there would be a $120 million salary cap, veterans would become free agents after their fourth season, no more two-a-day practices and lower rookie salaries.

But not so fast said NFLPA executivr director DeMaurice Smith. According to him, the players have not agreed to anything.

"As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved," wrote Smith in a letter to NFL players after learning the news of the owners' vote. "There's no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time." Earlier tonight, the NFLPA held a conference call to decide whether or not to vote on the new CBA. The conference call ended without a vote. The players have until Tuesday to vote to ratify the proposed labor agreement, which would contain all of the provisions of the old CBA along with non-CBA items that class counsel and the NFL have agreed to.

As the AmNews previously reported, under the conditions of the recently expired collective-bargaining agreement, NFL owners received a $1.3 billion per year credit for expenses before the players received their portion of annual revenues (this year, the league made almost $9 billion in revenues). With a new agreement, the owners want to add an extra billion to their annual expense credit, but the players claim that extra money accredited to the owners would reduce their pay significantly. That's where both sides remained until today.

Last month, the Eighth circuit court of appeals agreed to let the owners extend the players' lockout, which allowed them to shut down operations while undergoing an appeal of a lower court ruling that discontinued the lockout.

Even New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tried to get into the NFL lockout situation. Schneiderman's office wrote a letter to NFL Players Association President, and former New York Jets center, Kevin Mawae requesting information regarding the impact a lockout might have on New York's economy.

In other NFL news, the league announced that it cancelled the annual Hall-of-Fame game which would've featured the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears.