NFL Lockout: Confident John Mara Says 'We're Still In May'

New York Giants co-owner John Mara. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

New York Giants co-owner John Mara appeared on the Mike Lupica Show Thursday on ESPN Radio 1050 AM New York to discuss the NFL Lockout. Mara, like Chris Canty of the Giants and Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, expressed confidence that a deal will be reached in time to save the 2011 season.

"We're still in May, and we still have some time to do this ... but in the meantime we've got players out there that do not have a team, we have OTAs and mini-camps that should be going on. We should be getting ready to play a football season.

"I'm still very confident that there will be a full season because we do have time and I know there's a willingness on our part to site down and get a deal done. We've got to get the same willingness out of the players to sit down and do that."

See more of what Mara had to say after the jump.

On why the owners hate the current deal:

"We made a mistake, no question about it, and we deserve criticism for making that mistake. The players themselves have acknowledged that they made a great deal back in 2006. There were a number of us, myself included, who didn't full understand what we were doing back in ‘06.

"We understood it pretty quickly within about a year."

My take: Truth is, this answer does not tell us anything about why the owners hate the deal. It just re-affirms what we already knew -- that they hate the 2006 deal.

On the owners as a group:

"At the end of the day we're businessmen who love football. We want to get a deal done that makes sense for our businesses and that's good for the game and allows the game to grow.

"There is a deal there to be made, a deal that would be fair to both sides and allow the game to continue to grow. We just have to sit down and get to it."

On his current level of frustration:

"I thought that we had a chance on that final day, March 11, to at least come close to a deal. I certainly expected, at the very least, a counter-offer from the players and instead we got their declaration that they were done, they were de-certified and they were going to court. That was very frustrating for me."

On his message for DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the de-certified NFLPA:

"My message is the same that our message has been throughout this process, and that is that the owners are ready, willing and able to sit down and negotiate a fair deal. We should be doing that right now instead of wasting all this time and money in court pursuing these litigation strategies. That is not going to get us anywhere. We need to be at the bargaining table."

My take: I think I wish Mara was the commissioner. His message was not substantially different than the one Roger Goodell has been delivering. In listening to the interview, though, I did not sense the edgy tone you can get with Goodell. Let's hope Mara, who is one of the owners' key negotiators, can help broker a deal that will make his confidence in an uninterrupted 2011 season a reality.

-- Mara also addressed the lockout Thursday in an essay he wrote for Giants.com

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