Speaking at a tailgate-style fan luncheon in Green Bay on Tuesday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said he sees new signs that owners are preparing for a lockout in 2011.
A recent Sports Business Journal report said that the NFL is requiring banks that lend money to its teams to extend grace periods for loan defaults through the end of the 2011 season in the event of a lockout.
"That to me is a step where the owners are protecting themselves in the event that there is no season," said Smith.
Smith cited other moves, such as provisions in television deals, as more evidence that owners are planning for no football in 2011.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, the team's newly elected player rep, asked the crowd for its support.
On Monday, the Packers became the latest team to vote to give the union the authority to decertify in the event of a lockout, which would give players the right to sue the NFL.
The way we see it
The moves by the owners seen as preparation for a potential lockout aren't a good sign. It likely means they do not expect to budge in negotiations and don't foresee the players budging, either. Smith has continued to spread the word to players and fans about the possible lockout, being extremely proactive as the Packers join a host of teams who have voted for decertification authority.