NFL owners vote to approve labor deal

Updated 10:46 p.m. ET

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - NFL owners have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative 10-year agreement to end the lockout, pending player approval.

Thursday's 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. While owners pored over the terms, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on the phone several times with NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, including filling him in on the results of the vote before it was announced.

"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."

A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that players didn't vote Thursday on a tentative agreement to end the NFL lockout because they had not seen the full proposal approved by owners. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is supposed to be secret.

The players held a conference call to discuss the proposal. That call ended without a vote.

Most of the owners were set to attend the funeral of Myra Kraft, wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, on Friday, heightening the importance for owners of a vote Thursday night.

Players still had to sign off on the deal — and they must re-establish their union, the NFL said. Players didn't vote on a full pact Wednesday because there were unresolved issues.

Smith had earlier wrote in an email to the 32 player representatives shortly after the owners' decision:

"Issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open; other issues, such as workers' compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms, remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."

The four-month lockout is the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

Even after all acceptable terms are established, a deal would lead to a collective bargaining agreement only if NFL Players Association team reps recommend re-establishing the group as a union, which must be approved by a majority vote of the 1,900 players.

In March, when talks broke down and the old CBA expired, the NFLPA said it was dissolving itself as a union and instead becoming a trade association, a move that allowed Tom Brady and other players to sue the league under antitrust law. Only a union can sign off on a CBA.

The four-month lockout is the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

Owners believe recertification can be done immediately. Players believe it could take up to two weeks, reports CBSSports.com's Clark Judge.

CBSSports.com's Judge: Recertification an issue?

"I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we might not even be like a real union. Well, guess what? The decision to decertify was important, because at the time we were a real union," Smith said during a brief appearance outside NFLPA headquarters in Washington. "And the decision for our players, as men, to come back as a union is going to be an equally serious and very sober one that they have to make."

The first game on the preseason schedule — the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game between Chicago and St. Louis — was canceled Thursday.

"The time was just too tight," Goodell said. "Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to play the game this year."

Team facilities will open Saturday, and the new league year will begin Wednesday, he said — assuming the players approve the agreement, too.

The owners locked out players on March 12. During that time, teams weren't allowed to communicate with current NFL players; players — including those drafted in April — could not be signed; and teams did not pay for players' health insurance.

Issues still under discussion Thursday were believed to include how to set aside three pending court cases: The players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in federal court in Minnesota; the TV networks case, in which players accused owners of setting up $4 billion in "lockout insurance," money that the league would receive even if there were no games played in 2011; and a collusion case, in which players said owners conspired to restrict salaries last offseason.

Ten players — including quarterbacks Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson and Patriots guard Logan Mankins — filed their antitrust suit March 11. That was the day the country's most popular sports league was thrown into limbo, and the owners locked out players hours later.

NFL players busy during lockout, according to tweets

The basic framework for the league's new economic model — including how to split more than $9 billion in annual revenues — was set up during negotiations last week. But final issues involved how to set aside three pending court cases, including the antitrust lawsuit filed against the NFL in federal court in Minnesota by Tom Brady and nine other players.

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said the owners' understanding is that that court case will be dismissed.

One thing the owners originally sought and won't get, at least right away, is expanding the regular season from 16 games to 18. That won't change before 2013, and the players must agree to a switch.

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