Players Ratify NFL Deal

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NEW YORK, Aug. 4 (UPI) — NFL players ratified a 10-year collective bargaining agreement with league owners Thursday, removing the final barrier to the start of the 2011 season.

The negotiating team for the players had already approved the deal but a league-wide vote was needed to make it official.

“Our office was notified at 4:54 pm ET that the players have ratified the CBA,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

The affirmative vote was expected, although no vote percentages were announced. It took a clear majority of favorable votes for the ratification to take place.

The mechanics for the new season had already been in operation for a week amid a flurry of free-agent signings and trades involving star players.

“We are proud that we ratified the CBA,” players union head DeMaurice Smith said. “Thanks to our players for their leadership. Thanks to our fans for your patience.”

The opening round of exhibition games will take place Aug. 11-15.

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