ASSOCIATED PRESS Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs against the Dallas Cowboys defense during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, in Arlington, Texas.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The NFL will be open for business Tuesday. Players have voted to OK a final labor deal and end the 4 1/2-month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history. The 10-year package does not include an opt-out clause.
Appearing at a joint news conference outside the NFL Players Association headquarters with NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "This is a long time coming, and football's back."
Smith said, "We didn't get everything that either side wanted, but we did arrive at a deal that we think is fair and balanced."
Owners will receive a larger cut of all revenue and have a new system to rein in spending on contracts for first-round draft picks. Players persuaded teams to commit to spending nearly all of their salary cap space in cash and won changes to offseason and in-season practice rules that should make the game safer.
Club facilities will open to players Tuesday, when 2011 draft picks and rookie free agents can be signed, and teams can begin talking to veteran free agents. Training camps for some teams may begin as soon as Wednesday.
The owners overwhelmingly approved a proposal Thursday, but some unresolved issues still needed to be reviewed to satisfy players. The owners do not need to vote again. Meanwhile, teams are restoring pay to employees who lost wages during the labor dispute.
A person familiar with the situation says employees of the Miami Dolphins have had their salaries returned to previous levels --effective immediately. And the New York Jets have recouped all lost wages to business-side employees who took unpaid furloughs during the lockout and coaches who took pay cuts.
With the end of the lockout, Super Bowl organizers can sack their backup plan. A spokeswoman for the Indianapolis host committee says she expects NFL officials to give them the official word soon that they can cancel plans for a Feb. 12 Super Bowl. The game is scheduled for Feb. 5.
The league asked Indy to keep both weekends open when the city made its bid to host the league's title game.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)