ATLANTA -- After a 10-minute break turned into a lengthy evening siesta that unnerved more than a number of NFL reporters, the NFL owners voted to pass a resolution approving settlement of the Brady v. NFL lawsuit, according to the NFL Network.
"The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players this afternoon," Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his press conference following the vote. "In addition to approving that agreement we also approved a supplemental revenue sharing system for the next 10 years (with no opt-out by either the owners or players during that time).
"With this ratification and with the ratification of the NFLPA board, we will be prepared to open training facilities beginning on this Saturday. We will then be prepared to start the new league year Wednesday, subject to the full membership of the players, ratifying the agreement and recertifying as a union."
So while the four-game preseason schedule and the subsequent regular season appear safe, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, has been cancelled.
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"Obviously, you know that we're all under a time constraint," Goodell said. "That's one of the reasons we worked to get this agreement completed tonight. We are unfortunately going to have to cancel the Hall of Fame Game this year. The time is just too short, and we feel it's important for all 32 teams to be operating with the same number of preseason games and also starting camp at the same date. … But the [Hall of Fame] ceremonies will go on."
NFL attorney Jeff Pash explained what will happen after the NFLPA ratifies.
"Once the ratification process has been completed, there would be a period where the players would come, you do their physicals, get your rosters in order," Pash said. 'Teams could begin signing their own players -- their draftees and the like -- with the contracts sort of being in a state of suspended animation.
"What would you have is an opening of the new league year perhaps on next Wednesday, July 27."
This means that the ball is now firmly in the players' court; the NFLPA has an 8:00 PM conference call scheduled.
"I just spoke to DeMaurice [Smith] 20 minutes ago," Goodell said. "He's going to go take care of his business."
In a sign of where things still stand, though, it's important to note that this does not mean everything's finished.
"To clarify: NFL Owners Ratify PROPOSAL to end LOCKOUT," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah tweeted during Goodell's announcement.
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