Rooney: Long way to go on labor pact

BY Alex Marvez • November 21, 2010

Last month, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said it was "realistic" to think the NFL could reach agreement on a new labor pact with its players in December.

One of Kraft's peers isn't nearly as optimistic.

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II told that he believes both sides still have plenty of work ahead before a deal can be struck.

"I think the owners are all committed to getting a deal done that works for the game and something that is healthy economically for the players and owners," said Rooney, a member of the NFL management council executive committee for labor affairs. "I'm not going to predict any real time frame to it because I do think we have a long way to go, but I certainly think we'll get there. I hope we get there before we get to any type of a lockout. That remains to be seen."

A work stoppage is pending if a new pact isn't reached before the NFL's current collective bargaining agreement expires in March. Among the major issues that must be addressed are a revamped revenue-sharing system between the NFL and NFLPA, the league's proposed expansion to an 18-game regular season, and a rookie salary cap.

The NFL and NFLPA have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue and are expected to meet again in December as both sides try to avoid the league's first work stoppage since 1987.