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Deal reportedly set to go down Monday

Players will approve labor agreement Brad Biggs

Print This July 24, 2011, 08:35 AM EST

This time, the end really could be near.

The NFLPA’s executive committee is traveling to Washington today in order to hold a vote Monday that is expected to pass, according to ESPN, a move that will bring owners and players together and put an end to the more than four-month lockout.

While a majority vote from players is needed, that is expected to be a formality, a big shift from last Thursday when the owners voted to agree on a labor deal and dealt with instant push back from players. As he report indicates, the players wouldn’t call a vote if executive director DeMaurice Smith and others involved didn’t know it would pass easily.

This will put the NFL on track to open doors to its facilities this coming week. While no firm timetable is known yet, free agency could begin as soon as Saturday and it’s presumed training camps would open in the same period of time with some getting going as soon as Wednesday.

As part of the agreement, the plan is to have enough votes for the union to re-certify officially by Friday. Free agency cannot happen until the NFLPA goes from being a trade association back to being a union.

So, nothing is finalized yet, but this is great progress from where we were Thursday with the players accusing the owners of trying to pull a fast one.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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