Updated 3:38 p.m. ET, Monday, July 25
The 32 player representatives of the NFL Players' Association unanimously ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, all but ending the league's lockout after 136 days.
Meeting on Monday in Washington, the representatives voted 32-0 in favor of the new CBA, which the owners had agreed to last Thursday. This puts in place the schedule to start the league year, with team facilities opening Tuesday and training camps beginning on Friday.
NFL players still need to vote to approve the deal, and the Players' Association needs 50 percent of the players plus one for it to be official. That vote will happen on Monday, and it is expected the deal will pass easily. Then the 10 plaintiffs in the "Tom Brady vs. NFL" lawsuit must officially drop their case, which they already have agreed to do.
Speaking outside NFLPA headquarers on Monday afternoon, both commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith both expressed how excited they are that a deal has been completed. They were joined by members of the negotiations on both sides, including Jeff Saturday, Kevin Mawae and Domonique Foxworth from the players' side and Robert Kraft, Jerry Richardson and John Mara from the owners' side.
"We're happy that we have an agreement we have reached," Smith said.
"Football is back and that's great news for everybody," Goodell said. "Everybody believes in the game of football. … I think this agreement makes the game better."
Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, began his statements by apologizing to the fans for the long lockout. He then added that the two sides "have an agreement that will allow the league to flourish over the next decade."
In a statement released by the NFLPA, Mawae, the Association's president, said that the two sides have reacehd a deal that is fair for everybody.
"This has been a long road for everyone involved. While it is not yet over, the diligence demonstrated by active and former players speaks volumes to their dedication to reaching a fair deal," said Mawae. "This settlement is an essential component to what will be a long-term agreement benefitting players, owners and fans."