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Players vote to OK deal to end NFL lockout

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Now it can be said with certainty: Get ready for some football!

NFL players voted to OK a final deal Monday, days after the owners approved a tentative agreement, and the sides finally managed to put an end to the 4½-month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history.

"This is a long time coming, and football's back," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "and that's the great news for everybody."

At a joint appearance outside the NFL Players Association headquarters, Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith were flanked by some of the owners and players who were involved in the talks. They spoke shortly after the NFLPA executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously to approve the terms of a deal.

"We didn't get everything that either side wanted ... but we did arrive at a deal that we think is fair and balanced," Smith said.

Owners overwhelmingly approved a proposal Thursday, but some unresolved issues still needed to be reviewed to satisfy players; the owners do not need to vote again.

The sides worked through the weekend and wrapped up the details Monday morning on a final pact that runs for 10 years, without an opt-out clause, a person familiar with the deal told the AP on condition of anonymity.


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