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NFL Lockout 2011: John Mara Says 'I Believe We Can Make A Deal'

New York Giants co-owner John Mara, who was heavily involved in the mediated negotiations between players and owners for a new collective bargaining agreement, said today he still believes a deal can be reached in time for there to be a 2011 NFL season.

"I remain optimistic because I believe that we can make a deal that is fair for both sides," Mara, the Giants' President and Chief Executive Officer, said in an interview with The Second Verse, a show hosted by Ryan Ruocco and Peter Lundberg on ESPN 1050 Radio in New York. "I don't think that the players are interested in missing games and missing paychecks. Certainly, the owners don't want to see that happen. So I think as we get through the summer and we get closer to training camp, it would be hard for me to believe that we are not able to sit down and negotiate a fair deal, because there is enough money out there for everyone. It is just a question of how it is allocated."

As management has done consistently since talks collapsed on Friday and the NFLPA decertified, Mara criticized the players for taking their case to court.

"Both sides have to be willing to sit down across the bargaining table. We are willing to do that right now. But they have made a determination that they have to go into this litigation mode," said Mara.

"I sense that they were convinced that the most leverage that they had was to pursue the litigation strategy and decertify. And that is obviously what they are doing right now. We will have to see how that plays out. But I believe that there was a deal there to be made if they were serious about doing it. But apparently they were not."