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NFL Owners Sign Off On Settlement, Await Player Approval

ATLANTA, Ga. ( – As the hours ticked away to save much of the NFL's preseason; NFL owners, including the Dolphins' Stephen Ross, voted in favor of a settlement to the anti-trust/TV lawsuits that will eventually become the basis of the new collective bargaining agreement.

The vote was 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining from the ratification, which came after a full day of meetings at an Atlanta-area hotel.

The plaintiffs in the antitrust case (including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson, Drew Brees, Logan Mankins, Von Miller, and others) must now sign off on the settlement or there will be no movement towards an NFL season.

"Hopefully, we can all work quickly, expeditiously, to get this agreement done," Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "It is time to get back to football. That's what everybody here wants to do."

July 21 had long served as the date which the NFL players and owners would finally get the wheels moving towards beginning the season. The NFLPA executive committee met in Washington, DC Wednesday and gave tentative approval to the settlement.

According to's Jim Trotter, the owners and players must first vote to settle the lawsuits, then that settlement would become the "backbone of a new CBA." After that, the players association must "re-certify as a union so it can 'collectively bargain' with the owners on issues like" discipline, drug testing, etc.

Albert Breer of NFL Network said two of the biggest stumbling blocks are Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins. Both players have been tagged as franchise players or restricted free agents and are demanding either $10 million in damages or to become unrestricted free agents.

There's also a question of $320 million in funds that the NFLPA had negotiated to lose in the last CBA that all sides agreed was very player friendly. The NFLPA wants that money back, even though they negotiated the rules that allowed the money to be lost.

The players seem willing to sacrifice upwards of $100 million a week to try to squeeze every last bit of money out of the deal; even if they lose upwards of $100-200 million out of the total pot of money for the 2011 season.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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