- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A day after NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith rated the seriousness of the league's labor situation a 14 on a scale of 1-10, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell used far softer rhetoric on the subject.
"I couldn't make that prediction, and I sure hope he's wrong," Goodell said Friday. "I sure hope it doesn't become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don't need a lot of focus on that, we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have right now to structure an agreement, and sit down and negotiate. That's how this is going to get done, and we will have an agreement. It's just a matter of when."
"But talking about options like work stoppages is not going to get us there. We need to sit down and make those deals and figure out how to structure something that makes sense. A work stoppage is not a positive outcome for anybody. Both sides will lose money, and the fans most importantly, will lose football."
"We have got to avoid that, and our commitment and our determination is to work hard to do that."
Goodell claims owners have lost $200 million since 2006.