CANTON, Ohio – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith each grabbed a side of the massive 300-page collective bargaining agreement between the players and league owners and exchanged a relieved handshake while posing for the cameras.
And just like that, 4 1/2 months of acrimony, anger and posturing from both sides during the protracted NFL lockout was over.
Smith and Goodell signed the new CBA on a makeshift stage on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Friday morning, a largely ceremonial gesture after the players agreed to ratify the 10-year agreement Thursday night.
“We’re all relieved because football is back,” Goodell said. “That’s what our fans want, and that’s what we all want and we’re thrilled that we got it done.”
One fan shouted, “Thank you!” to Smith as he took his seat, with Smith answering, “More than welcome.”