MORE (Nashville, Tenn.) told a news conference Thursday that the players would not agree to a strike, but that it was time to start a new era.
He said the union was prepared to start bargaining as early as Friday to try to avoid a repeat of last month’s lockout.
A strike could put the league’s bottom line at risk.
“The bottom line is the players will not negotiate until the issues are resolved,” he said.
“The players are prepared to go into this negotiation with a lot of hard work, a lot more than we’ve seen before.
The players are willing to take a very, very hard stand on the issues.”
Negotiations between the league and the players have been held up for weeks by the NFL Players Association, which has said it is prepared to take legal action against any team that refuses to participate in the lockout.
Last month, the league said the two sides would begin talks on a contract that would include a new labor agreement by the end of March, though there have been signs of growing resistance to that timetable.
The union, which represents more than 7,000 players, has said the sides have been trying to reach a deal but is holding out hope that the league might be willing to negotiate with the players in some form.
“We’re willing to have some kind of collective bargaining agreement in place by the time the lockout is over, and we’re willing … to work toward that,” said Bob Myers, president of the NFLPA.
“We’ll see what happens.”
The owners have said they want to avoid another lockout by allowing the players to make their own decisions about how to handle the lockout and also to have a new collective bargaining deal signed by the owners by March 16.
That timetable is part of the reason that some teams have said that they would not be willing participate in a lockout.
Other teams, including the New York Jets, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, have also indicated they are unwilling to start the process without a deal.
Numerous media reports have indicated that some owners are considering taking legal action if the sides cannot reach a new deal by March, which would likely put the game’s future at risk, including its ability to host a Super Bowl.
“I am not going to sit back and let this thing continue to spin out of control,” Myers said.
“There are some owners that have decided that they are going to make a run at it, and if the players don’t come to an agreement with them, then they will make their play for the league, for the game.”
The NFLPA and the league have been in talks for months.
On Thursday, the players told reporters that they have been reaching out to the league to try and reach a resolution to the lockout but had yet to hear back.
The NFL Players Union also has said that the owners have been offering a deal that would allow them to play at a reduced level, which is an issue the league has said they will not address.