With a 31-0 vote, NFL team owners approved a deal to end a four-month-old lockout, the longest in the league's history. But the players have yet to approve it, saying there's still more work to be done.
The 11th hour negotiations are putting a strain on an already tight schedule. On Thursday, league officials announced that time constraints had forced them to cancel the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame preseason opener between Chicago and St. Louis.
"We think it's unfortunate it's come to this," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters. "But we hope that we can all work expeditiously to try to get to the point where that's the only damage."
But the executive director of the NFL Players Association said the players won't be rushed.
In an email to team representatives, DeMaurice Smith wrote, "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."
Player's Association president Kevin Mawae issued a statement Friday saying the owners' proposal was being reviewed.
Players must also resolve three pending lawsuits against the league, including an anti-trust case they filed in a Minneapolis federal court.
"Our understanding is that, as part of this agreement, litigation will be dismissed," said Jeff Pash, the NFL's chief negotiator. "Disputes will all be resolved. And we will go forward for the next 10 years as business partners working together for the betterment of the game and not fighting with each other in Minnesota or elsewhere."
Under the terms of the owner's agreement, players would be allowed back to club facilities for voluntary workouts starting Saturday. The new league year and free agency signings would begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday, with training camps opening that same day.
Of course, all this is contingent on players approving the deal.
Edward Hill, an Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder, expressed his frustration with the ongoing contract dispute.
"For whatever reason, not just football, greed is epidemic in America," Hill said. "I'm just happy that we're going to get it settled."