EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 9, 2011

SOURCE: NFL lockout almost over

Bill Burt

A deal to end the National Football League's lockout is almost complete, according to an NFL source.

According to the source, owners and players were close to an agreement today to end the lockout, which entered its 86th day today.

Some coaches and players have been contacted about returning to work probably early next week and possibly as soon as this weekend.

The two sides were meeting secretly in Manhattan the last three days. Included in those meetings were Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Judge Arthur Boylan and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith.

The group reportedly met last week in Chicago.

This means that the season is expected to begin, as scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 8, when the New Orleans Saints play at Green Bay.