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Football fans everywhere can finally rejoice! The first NFL work stoppage since 1987 is FINALLY over, meaning this week should be a wild one for the Patriots and the 31 other teams.
The CBA was originally ratified by NFL owners on Thursday, and the NFL player representatives voted Monday to accept the new deal, effectively ending the lockout.
After the players’ vote, Colts longtime center Jeff Saturday thanked Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who despite his wife’s illness and death, was with NFL owners most of the way through the negotiations.
“A special thanks to Myra Kraft, who even in her weakest moment allowed Mr. Kraft to come and fight this out,” Saturday said. “And without him, this deal does not get done. I don’t want to be climatic in any way, but he is a man who helped us save football and we’re so gracious for that, we’re gracious for his family and for the opportunity he presented to get this deal done. So thank you very much, we really appreciate it.”
The end of the lockout means the Patriots will get their full preseason and NFL season. But, players will now have to undergo a grueling, crammed-in training camp. Good thing the number of two-a-days have been reduced! (based on the new CBA)
Mike Reiss has more:
“Players will begin to report to Gillette Stadium on Tuesday for voluntary training, conditioning, and classroom instruction. Wednesday will be the mandatory reporting date for all players and will include physical examinations, conditioning tests, and other meetings.”
Here’s a schedule of events over the next several days:
The absolute barrage of free agency dealings and last minute trades is sure to be an unusual situation for the league, players and the media. But despite the whirlwind ahead, it looks like fans can be rest assured that their favorite teams and players will be ready for some football come late summer and fall.
SoB’s Tanya Ray Fox contributed to this report.