NFL players and owners reviewing deal to lift lockout

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 20, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 20 at 6:01 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- The pieces were in place to ratify a new owner-player agreement that would lift the four-month long lockout in the National Football League.

Wednesday, player reps from the 32 teams from across the NFL gathered at their union headquarters in Washington, D.C. to look over the X's and O's of the new deal.

Players Association President and former LSU Tiger Kevin Mawae cautioned reporters not to assume the NFL lockout will be lifted by the weekend.

By the end of the day, players did not vote on the matter.

"We want to play football and we want to go back to work, but we're not going to agree to any deal unless it's the right deal for the players," said Mawae.

Members of the owner's labor committee spent the day meeting in Atlanta to decide whether to recommend the new deal to the rest of the team owners.

Saints fans are hoping this latest proposal is the real deal.

"It's gone on way too long," said Mike Serio. "I think it's time for both sides to get together and end this thing."

"I'm backing the players because we need to back our team, get them what they need and be the best they can be," said Valencia Pierre.

"I think from the owners perspective and the player perspective there's way too much money to be lost," said Levy Monteiro.

Players and owners have already agreed to a number of big ticket items including how the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided. Players will get up to 48.5 percent of the cash.

They also agreed to a structure for rookie contracts that will rein in soaring salaries for first-round draft picks.

New free agency rules would allow most four-year veterans to negotiate with any team.

There would also be a cap of about $120 million per team for player salaries in 2011.

Two Saints safeties running a football camp in New Orleans are optimistic about the new deal.

"There are a couple of issues that they need to iron out and a lot of those are just legal issues with the lawsuits, just trying to get those over with and having the owners, hopefully vote by the 21st on whether or not they're going to agree to the CBA and of course, we have to vote on it also," said Darren Sharper.

"I'm really not too worried about it," said Roman Harper. "I'm sure it will get done within the next week or so and it's going to be be pandemonium, it seems like it's going to be a rat race for everybody and it's pretty exciting, I guess.

Owners could vote tomorrow whether to accept the new agreement.

Players could also vote as early as tomorrow.

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