NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith spoke to the media on Monday after the players voted unanimously to approve the new labor deal with the owners ending the NFL lockout. There are still a few procedural issues the players need to tie up but, starting as soon as Tuesday, the NFL is back.
Here's a transcript of what Smith had to say to the media on Monday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. (ET):
"We wanted to let everyone know who loves this game that the executive committee and board of player reps of the National Football League unanimously recommended the approval of the deal.
"Obviously, we have a collective bargaining ratification process that has yet to start. We have a recertification effort that is going to be one of the most intense and significant unionization efforts, certainly one of the most public unionization efforts in our history. Our men believe they should make this decision as players. They'll make the decision of recertification as players. They'll make the decision of ratifying the CBA that addresses health and asfety issues, and benefits, that you know have been important to us.
"To our fans, I know you love this game as much as I do. I know it's been a very long process since the day we stood here on that day in March. But our guys stuck together when no one lese thought we would and football is back because of it. I'm proud of the men that you see behind me, I'm proud of the former players that have stood with us, and most of all, I dig our fans who love our game."