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Sources told ESPN the union was prepared to decertify Thursday, barring a last-minute breakthrough in the talks. That action means the union no longer would represent the players, who would be giving up their rights under labor law and instead take their chances in court under antitrust law. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the union had not made its plans public.
Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Logan Mankins have agreed to be lead plaintiffs on the antitrust suit the players will file against the NFL if no labor agreement is reached and the union files for decertification, according to sources.