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Owners’ approval brings NFL labor crisis near end

NFL NFL owners have approved a 10-year labor deal with the league’s players, bringing professional football to the brink of labor peace.

A vote from the players could come as soon as tonight, ending the lockout that began March 11.

The NFL’s annual Hall of Fame exhibition game has been canceled, but it appears that the remainder of exhibition play and the entire regular season would run intact.

The deal would bring a sigh of relief to CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network, all of whom use the NFL as bellwether programming. By the end of the year, bidding is also expected to begin on a new eight-game package for Thursdays that will launch in 2012.

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