Progress to report on the ever-changing NFL labor situation. Both sides of the NFL lockout met separately Thursday, trying to find an end to the 4-month old work stoppage.
NFL owners approved a new working contract in Atlanta, while representatives from the NFL Players Association kept talking well into the night.
NFL owners huddled in Atlanta and voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new 10 year labor agreement.
"There is an urgency to this. we want to have a full 2011 season, and that includes the 4 pre-season games, and we're up against the wall" said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
NFL owners call the tentative deal fair for everybody. (s/ jeffrey lurie - philadelphia eagles owner :21 - :32)
"In the end, it was worth all the angst and anxiety, nervousness over the last several months, because if you can come up with a 10 year labor agreement in sports and get to football and not worry about it for 10 years. It's great"
said Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The ball is now back in the players' hands. NFL Players Association reps spent the day discussing remaining issues. Among them, how to handle workmen's comp claims and the resolution of three pending court cases including an anti-trust lawsuit brought by ten players.
"Our understanding is that as part of the agreement, litigation will be dismissed, disputes will all be resolved" said Jeff Pash from the NFL General Council.
With an agreement by NFL players, the NFL says team facilities would open on Saturday. The 32 teams could then sign draft choices and their own free agents before the general free agency period opens on Wednesday. But before the locks can come off, the NFL players need to say yes. Until then, the NFL season remains on hold.