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The NFL Players Association and the league have reached an agreement on a new labor deal, NFL.com reported Monday.

“The league’s 32 player representatives and then all of its players still must vote to approve it, but at this point it appears a formality,” the NFL.com report said.

Negotiators reached the agreement in the very early hours of Monday morning, the report said.

On Sunday, the NFL quoted New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as telling fans in an e-mail, “The deal is almost done.”

Brees is one of 10 NFL players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league over the lockout.

The lockout started in March.

Both sides over the weekend discussed details players wanted resolved in the agreement. They included the contractual handling of player injury, an opt-out clause in the 10-year deal and “most pointedly, the potential timeline for the recertification of the NFLPA (NFL Players’ Association) as a union,” the NFL said.

The proposed collective-bargaining agreement with 1,900 players would last through the 2020 season.

An originally proposed agreement included a new rookie compensation system, a salary cap of $142.4 million per club in 2011 and additional retirement benefits, according to the NFL.

In a bid to reduce injuries, the pact limited practice times and full-contact practices. Clubs were to receive credit for actual stadium investment and up to 1.5% of revenue each year.

Current players could remain in the player medical plan for life, under the owners’ plan. They also would have enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player’s salary for the year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury.

If players accept the deal Monday, free-agent signing could begin this week and the four-week preseason could go forward with only one hitch, according to the NFL.

The first preseason game — the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams — was canceled because of the delay in opening camps,NFL Commission Roger Goodell said. It had been scheduled for August 7.

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article courtesy of CNN.com

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