NFLPA, owners move closer to ending lockout
The NFL Players Association and owners are inching ever closer to an agreement to end the longest work stoppage in the league since 1987 and just in time to keep the entire NFL pre-season intact. The Associated Press reports the two sides are looking over a proposed deal, and could approve it by as early as Thursday.
The news comes after a week of significant progress, and player representatives from each of the league's 32 teams are expected to go over the provisions of the proposed deal. Meanwhile, the owners' labor committee was set to meet on Wednesday as well, and will likely review the new condition on Thursday.
Among the biggest issues over the discussions have been benefits for retired players as well as revenue sharing from television deals. According to the AP, the new deal includes about $1 billion in additional benefits over the next 10 years, as well as $620 in pension increases.
Former NFL player Carl Eller has been a central figure in the discussions as of late to give retired players a voice that they previously were not given.
"This clearly lets us know there's more work to be done," Eller told the news source. "It's certainly something we want to keep going and continue the dialogue, continue to work until we have some kind of a solution."
According to ESPN.com, if the lockout is lifted this week, the opening of training camp may still be delayed by a week or two. The Chicago Bears were the first team scheduled to open camp on July 22, but they will likely be pushed back to August 1. The first pre-season game, between the Bears and the St. Louis Rams, is slated for August 7.