Players delay vote on proposed deal to end lockout

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WASHINGTON(Reuters) - National Football League
(NFL) players decided Wednesday not to rush into a vote on a
tentative agreement aimed at ending a lockout that has dragged
on for over four months.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) executive committee and
player representatives of the league's 32 teams gathered in
Washington to consider the labor deal but reached no decision,
saying more work needed to be done.

The players did take a conditional vote and left word with
the NFLPA about hypothetical terms that they would agree to in
order to recommend a possible settlement of a pending antitrust
lawsuit against the league, the website said.

``Make no mistake, the players are not in a rush and are not
tied to the timeline of July 21 (Thursday),'' NFLPA president
Kevin Mawae told reporters. ``Our timeline is the timeline that
gets the best deal for the players.''

A players' vote on the bargaining agreement could now come
on Thursday.

NFL owners had hoped the players would have given early
approval to the deal so the league could hold its vote at an
owners meeting scheduled on Thursday in Atlanta. They could
still vote Thursday if the players vote for the deal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of the league's
labor committee met in Atlanta on Wednesday to study the
proposed deal. At least 24 owners would need to approve the
agreement when it comes to a final vote.

Time is running out for an agreement if the league is to
begin its preseason on time with the Chicago Bears and St.
Louis Rams scheduled to play on Aug. 7.

Many key sticking points in the dispute have been resolved,
including an agreement in principle on how to divide more than
$9 billion in annual revenue.

But an antitrust lawsuit filed by 10 players including
quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Bees after
bargaining talks broke down on March 11 must be settled.

The owners locked out the players the next day and the move
has withstood legal challenges at the appellate level.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing
by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email

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