On Wednesday night, PFT reported (and several others thereafter did, too) that the NFL and NFLPA had made considerable progress toward crafting comprehensive new drug policies, including hGH testing. One source told PFT that a deal was “very close.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell has addressed the situation, as has executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent. The NFLPA has now issued a statement from president Eric Winston regarding the reports.
“Players who have been to any collective bargaining negotiation understand that we never describe them as ‘very close,'” Winston said. “We look at every issue we can to improve the rights and benefits of players. This process takes time, it takes creativity and it is never easy.
”We want to get a new agreement in place but we understand the responsibility we have to the players and to the game. It is critical that we get this right.”
It’s unclear whether an agreement will be finalized in the near future. One source told PFT last night that, if a deal isn’t done by the weekend, the NFLPA may decide to wait until after the season.
Ultimately, the question is whether each side is willing to make striking a deal a priority — and whether each side is willing to give and take in order to get things done.