The NFL Players Association, presented with a proposal from the league's owners group in a federal mediation session late Friday afternoon as a 5 p.m. decertification deadline approached, has rejected the offer as "significant differences continue to remain," union chief DeMaurice Smith said.
Decertification, which effectively disbands the NFLPA, would give the union the chance to sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout. Without decertification, the union would have to wait six months to file a suit after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
Meanwhile, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees rejoined the talks Friday, also reiterating the union's desire for the NFL owners to open their books.
Brees was among a group of about 20 people, including Smith, who walked over from the union's nearby headquarters. Brees and Smith were flanked by several other current or former players.
"To our fans -- I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal," Brees tweeted before the start of Friday's meetings. "The NFL brought this fight to us -- they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request."
They need to figure this out because I'm going to go crazy without football.