WASHINGTON (AP) A person familiar with the NFL negotiations told The Associated Press that players would not vote Wednesday on a deal to end the lockout.
The person said there remained work to do to finalize an agreement between owners and players. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the process was supposed to remain confidential.
The NFL Players Association’s executive committee and representatives of all 32 teams met Wednesday in Washington, but some participants left in the afternoon after reviewing portions of a tentative deal. A second person told the AP on condition of anonymity that players were going to relay information to teammates.
It’s possible players will vote Thursday.
Early Wednesday, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae cautioned not to assume the lockout will be over by the weekend, saying that his group was “not tied” to a deadline for getting a deal done in the next 24 hours.
“We want to go back to work,” Mawae said outside NFLPA headquarters in the morning, “but we will not agree to a deal unless it’s the best deal for the players.”
If the four-month lockout – the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987 – is going to end in time to keep the preseason completely intact, the players and owners almost certainly must ratify the deal by Thursday. The St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears are scheduled to open the preseason Aug. 7 in the Hall of Fame game.
“Our goal today is to see what is on the table and discuss outlying issues,” Mawae said. “The players are not tied to a July 21 timeline. Our timeline is that which gives us the best deal for the players – today, tomorrow or whatever it might be.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and nine of the 10 members of the owners’ labor committee arrived at a hotel near the Atlanta airport on Wednesday, so they could decide whether to recommend a finalized proposal to all club owners, who are due to be there Thursday
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is on the labor committee, wasn’t expected to participate because his wife died Wednesday, at age 68, after a battle with cancer.
If owners do vote Thursday, at least 24 would need to OK the deal. If it’s passed by both sides, team executives would be schooled later that day and Friday in Atlanta in the guidelines and how to apply them; topics would include the 2011 NFL calendar, rookie salary system and new free agency rules.
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