National Football League teams owners and players risk missing training camps or other events if they don’t reach a labor agreement soon, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“We don’t have a date but obviously that time is coming,” Goodell told reporters at a league meeting in Indianapolis. “We’re getting closer to the point where those will have to be considerations.”
The NFL in March locked out players, who sued the league for antitrust violations in federal court, led by Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Goodell said he told Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and other elected leaders yesterday that the NFL continues to plan to conclude next season at the Super Bowl title game in Indianapolis, scheduled for February.
Owners also spent time during the meeting discussing plans for the league’s kickoff celebration and other activities in preparation for playing a full season for the U.S.’s most-popular sport, he said.
“That’s fully our intention,” Goodell said. “We are approaching the 2011 season as we would any other.”
New York Giants owner John Mara said it’s too soon to consider canceling or shortening his team’s training camp in Albany, New York. He said talks with players will reach a new accord.
“You’re going to have a Super Bowl in Indianapolis,” he said. “I’m confident.”
Goodell said that players looking for new contracts and teams looking to fill gaps in their rosters may suffer because the lockout has delayed free agency.
“That’s why this uncertainty is, I think, a disadvantage to everybody,” he said.
Goodell said he doesn’t want the league to miss any more scheduled events. The NFL said yesterday that its annual rookie symposium had been canceled.
“Obviously, we’d prefer to get a negotiated agreement so we don’t have to make those decisions,” Goodell said.