Chicago — Although he repeatedly stressed the fragility of ongoing labor negotiations between NFL owner and players, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear Tuesday he thinks the time to strike a deal has come.
Entering the scheduled general meeting of owners in Chicago, Irsay said he thinks, “this is the season to make a deal.”
“These things chug along, they are stop-and-start and fragile,” he added. “But I think it’s important now that we stay the course and get something done.”
A large group of owners, and possibly at least 24 of those who would be required to approve a new collective bargaining agreement, are believed to share Irsay’s position. The Chicago meeting, he said, represents a chance, “for getting updates and for all 32 of us to express our feelings.”
Irsay described Colts center Jeff Saturday, a prominent member of the now disbanded players’ union as, “a great guy and a great Colt.”
“He’s always been a level-headed guy who wants to get a deal,” Irsay said. “And as I’ve said all along 90 percent of us on both sides want to get a deal done. It just makes sense that you find a way.”
Irsay’s remarks were an undeniably positive sign for those hoping a deal will be struck soon to lift the lockout and get training camps and preseason back on track. Irsay made it clear he is eyeing that same calendar closely, noting it is one thing to posture in October and another to put up roadblocks to a deal close to July.
“The logic is pushing on both sides now,” Irsay said.