NFL Lockout: Player Representatives Could Vote Today

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 17: NFL players' lawyers Jeffrey Kessler, James Quinn and Barbara P. Berens walk with former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith after leaving court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The July 21 deadline was not met for both sides to agree to the new collective bargaining agreement, but it sounds like that might not affect things too much. Last night, I speculated that the players would take Friday and Saturday to continue working out the details, based on the league's proposed schedule of free agent negotiations commencing on July 23.

This morning, ESPN's John Clayton had all of the latest with what has been going on since last night's news. If there's one thing to especially take out of Clayton's piece, it is this:

NFLPA leaders told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen a vote among its 32 player representatives appears likely Friday after the group received the "finishing points" of the agreement NFL owners approved Thursday. The NFLPA did not receive those details until after a two-hour conference call with player reps came to a conclusion without a vote Thursday night.

"All in all, despite the games that were played by the NFL, things look much more optimistic," a players' leadership source said.

It was speculated that the players could do their signatures electronically to re-certify the union, but Clayton reports that the NFLPA wants players to hand sign cards. Still, that might not take very long to complete if everyone makes the appropriate arrangments:

If the NFL player representatives vote Friday to approve terms of the agreement, the NFLPA wants the league to lift the lockout effective Saturday and have union cards at team facilities for players to sign.

NFLPA president Kevin Mawae released a statement saying that the NFLPA will not release any more statements today, as they mourn the death of Robert Kraft's wife. That doesn't mean they aren't working, as Mawae offers these words of encouragment:

"Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification."

As always, we'll try to keep you posted with all of the latest on the lockout.

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