At this hour, DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA and Commissioner Goodell, as well as other representatives on both sides are holding a joing press conference to announce the official end of the lockout, and the return to the game of football. As the commissioner said “Football is back”.
The folowing is commentary on the schedule and the press conference as it goes along.
The agreement as stated earlier is a 10 year deal, without an opt out clause, meaning there will be no re-negotation of the deal, no backing out by either side this time. Giants owner John Mara said “neither side got everything they wanted….”, but they have gotten a deal to benefit both sides.
The schedule now allows the teams to open for business tomorrow for class work, voluntary training, ..etc.
Tomorrow at 10 AM, draft picks can be signed as well as undrafted rookies, and trades can be made as well.
Negotations with free agents can begin at that time as well, although the free agent period will begin at 6 PM. It was originally thought that there would be an exclusive window for teams to negotiate with their own free agents, but that is not to occur. Negotiations with all agents will begin tomorrow, with the flurry of activity to begin Friday night at 6 PM.
De Smith credited the good relationship that he maintained with Commissioner Goodell as a strong factor in getting the deal done. They are both in agreement that the deal is “in the best interest of the game”.
Smith stated that they don’t forsee any problems with the general vote on the CBA. There are some small issues that need to be worked out, such as pensions, and grieveances. He stated that they “have to be a union”, in order to complete these issues, which leads one to believe that the recertification of the union will not be difficult.
The commissioner stated that the number one issue now is “the bond with the fans”. Hope they make good on that one.
The press conference ended with an exclamation from soneone unseen “Yeah we have football!”, and applause as Smith and Goodell dispursed back into the NFLPA offices.
We made it folks! Football is back.
Now in the words of our great coach, Rex Ryan. “Let’s go eat a G@##@!@ snack!”