Sports

Owners gather in Chicago for crucial meeting

NFL team owners are scheduled to gather today in the Chicago area for a meeting considered crucial to determining whether a deal with locked-out players will be completed in coming weeks.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials will attempt to address concerns of some owners about terms that have been under discussion in recent weeks. Several people familiar with the owners’ deliberations said in recent days that today’s session is designed to give each owner a chance to express an opinion on the state of the negotiations.

A deal with the players likely would be completed in the next few weeks if Goodell is able to satisfy some owners’ concerns.

“If everyone emerges from this meeting on the same page in support of the deal, then you should see it get done,” said one person who is not involved in the talks but has knowledge of the details under deliberation. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Any deal would have to be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 NFL teams. People familiar with the owners’ deliberations said there does not appear to be a sufficient number of dissenting owners to block an agreement now. But, those people added, it’s not clear yet what might happen when all the owners gather as a group for the first time since the talks put an accord within reach.

No formal vote is expected at this meeting of the owners, which will be held at a hotel near O’Hare Airport.

VOBORA WINS LAWSUIT

St. Louis Rams linebacker David Vobora was awarded $5.4 million in his lawsuit against a Florida supplements maker. More important, Vobora said his reputation has been restored.

“Today is a celebration,” Vobora said. “Today, I’ve been proven innocent.”

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel entered the order against the company, Anti-Steroid Program LLC of Key Largo, Fla., on Friday.

Attorneys for the 25-year-old Vobora said he used the company’s “Ultimate Sports Spray” in June 2009 without knowing it contained methyltestosterone, a banned substance that showed up in an NFL drug test and led to his suspension.

EX-PLAYERS APPEAL

His body battered and bruised by a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, Joe DeLamielleure limped to the podium to state his case.

“We’ve earned the right to have a livable pension,” the former guard with the Bills and Browns said after detailing his lengthy resume of surgeries. “The NFL is the most lucrative sport on the planet and they can’t take care of 2,000 guys? That’s wrong.”

DeLamielleure was one of a collection of NFL Hall of Famers and current players who held a press conference in Washington, D.C., backing a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, demanding better benefits for former players.

ETC.

Denver Broncos defensive player Jason Hunter was struck in the left upper chest by a kitchen knife hurled at him by his girlfriend during an argument over cellphones, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press. Hunter’s agent, Robert Walker, said afterward that the player required several stitches at a local hospital.

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