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Lockout Is Over As NFLPA Says ‘Football Is Back’

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DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell shake hands before addressing the media Monday to announce the end of the lockout. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell shake hands before addressing the media Monday to announce the end of the lockout. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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(CBS) The NFLPA executive board and player reps from every NFL team voted unanimously Monday to approve the terms of a deal with the owners to end the NFL lockout.

“To our fans, I know you love this game as much as I do and I know it has been a very long process since that night we stood here in March,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “Our guys stood together and football is back because of it.”

NFL owners unanimously approved a deal last Thursday, but the players still had concerns and worked through the weekend to come to an agreement.

“It’s been a long time coming and football is back,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I think this agreement is going to make football better.”

Goodell confirmed that the agreement is a 10-year deal, meaning football will be safe from another lockout for a decade.

“This is a fair deal that we are excited to present to our players and we are excited about getting back on the field,” Indianapolis Colts center and player rep Jeff Saturday said.

Smith said there are still a few road block for the players as they still have to reform as a union. In the meantime, free agency will open this week and the league will get back to operating like normal.

“On behalf of the players in the NFL, it’s a great day,” NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said. “We stand on the eve of the day that football gets back to business … We are excited for today.”

Meanwhile, Goodell had a message for those who feel the lockout may have damaged the game.

“We are sorry (to our fans) for the frustration we put them through the last few months,” Goodell said, adding that it was necessary to make the game better.

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