NFL players ratify new CBA
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NFL players ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, making them so happy, they could dance a jig -- and one of them actually did.
Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke celebrated his return to action with his signature "Hoke-y Pokey" jig on the field at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, with his teammates surrounding him, clapping.
The Steelers pushed their normal afternoon practice starting time of 2:55 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. so that the deal could be ratified and 15 players who had agreed to new contracts, like Hoke, could join their teammates.
That start time came and went without the 15 players suited up, but they joined their teammates just shy of 5 p.m., after confirmation came that the deal was official.
Sources familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press the NFL will become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone under the final language of the collective bargaining agreement.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made. The CBA's wording was completed Thursday, and players voted to ratify.
Most of the deal to end the NFL's 4??-month lockout was agreed to last month, but certain elements still must be ironed out. Final CBA language was in place Thursday afternoon, and shortly before 5 p.m. EDT, players had voted to approve it.
The NFL will be allowed to check each player annually for HGH -- but only after the union is confident in the way testing and appeals will work.
First Published August 4, 2011 5:21 pm