NEW YORK NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has warned the players' union they will have to compromise if they want to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement and avoid a lockout.
Goodell took the unusual step of delivering his message to the union in a syndicated newspaper column entitled, "The time has come to make a deal" after talks between the parties broke down last week.
With the current agreement due to expire on March 4 and no sign of a deal being reached, Goodell said time was running out and it was imperative they returned to the negotiating table.
"We need an agreement that both sides can live with and obtain what they need, not simply what they want," Goodell wrote.
"Today's collective bargain agreement does not work as it should from the standpoint of the teams.
"If needed adjustments are made, the NFL will be better for everyone. The first step is making sure a new collective bargaining agreement is more balanced and supports innovation and growth."
Goodell's plea came just one day after NFL owners filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the players' union, casting renewed doubts that an agreement will be reached as relations between the feuding sides deteriorate.
Under the current agreement, the players keep 60 percent of available revenue, but the NFL believes the players should get a smaller slice so the NFL and owners can invest in other areas, including new stadiums.
They are also at odds over rookie wage scales, drug testing and how many games should be played in the regular season.
"The current deal does not secure the best possible future for the game, players, clubs and fans," Goodell wrote.
"The next few weeks must be used to negotiate with intensity and purpose so we can reach a fair agreement by March 4. If both sides compromise and give a little, everyone will get a lot, especially the fans."
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Steve Ginsburg; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)