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NFL Owners' Deal Presents Timeline To Start 2011 Season, But Players Furious

Thursday night, NFL owners voted to approve a deal that would end the ongoing lockout, if players agreed and reformed the NFLPA. The league presented a detailed timeline, including preseason, free agency and training camp dates, along with bullets on new collective bargaining agreement high points. 

And it's all pretty much masterful marketing by the owners.

Here's labor leader DeMaurice Smith's letter to players:

All:

As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us.

As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.

As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved.

There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight.    

Players are now in the awkward position of either agreeing to a deal that doesn't work for them or coming out looking like the bad guys. Many are angry, including former Falcons player Domonique Foxworth, one of the most influential player leaders.

The lockout is technically halfway over, but be prepared for the second half to be as hard-fought as the first.

Visit SB Nation's NFL hub for more NFL lockout news. Join The Falcoholic for more on the Atlanta Falcons.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.