NFL Lockout Remains in Place as Players Consider Proposal

Published July 22, 2011

| Reuters

The National Football League (NFL) lockout remained intact Friday as players and their representatives paused before committing to their next step.

The players are spending the day discussing a proposal from team owners aimed at ending a bitter labor dispute that has been dragging on since mid-March.

NFL team owners have given the players until Tuesday to approve the new collective bargaining agreement and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) said they were still considering their response.

``Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification,'' NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said in a statement.

Mawae said the NFLPA would not make any further comment on Friday out of respect for Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.

Her funeral was taking place on Friday and being attended by team owners and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

The terms of the 10-year deal accepted by the owners at a meeting in Atlanta on Thursday were on the condition that the players also signed off on the agreement.

Local media reported that the league told team officials on Friday that training facilities and the start of the free agent signing period would remain closed until the deal was signed.

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy told reporters it was up to the players to make the next move.

``We've put our pens down,'' Murphy said. ``We've negotiated in good faith with the union. We've reached an agreement on all the key points.

``They know what we ratified and they're voting to ratify the same thing.''

More than 1,900 players will be expected to vote on the proposal but they cannot cast their votes until the union, which dissolved in March, is recertified.

There was still no decision on when that would happen but local media reported that players were unhappy at some parts of the deal so an agreement could take up to a week but was expected to be ratified.

Once the deal is signed, the preseason will start on Aug. 11 and the regular season will begin as scheduled in September.

The only game that will be lost is the annual Hall of Fame game that was scheduled for Aug. 7 between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams.

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