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NFL Notes: CBA, Ravens, Steelers

CBA

NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith tells Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com that it’s “almost a virtual certainty” that there will be a strike or lockout in 2021.

“I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout in 2021 is almost a virtual certainty,” Smith said.

“I don’t know now, but let’s look at our history,” Smith said. “The owners do a deal in 2006 and opt out in 2008. We do a deal in 2011 with no opt outs because we like the benefits under the current deal and we didn’t want to give the owners a chance to opt out and take back the gains that we currently have. . . . So we have a new deal where if it doesn’t get fixed you head into a certain small-A armageddon.

Ravens

Ravens HC John Harbaugh mentioned Thursday that they’re sticking with the timeline regarding QB Joe Flacco and his return from a back injury. Although, Harbaugh added that Flacco won’t practice this week.

We have a time frame with that,” Harbaugh said Thursday night, via ESPN.com. “I don’t think that time frame is this week yet. So we will stick with the plan on that. I think it’s a straightforward date that the doctors and the back specialists have given us. So we’re going to stick with that.”

As for backup QB Ryan Mallett, who many felt struggled during the team’s second preseason game, Harbaugh said he was “good, solid.”

“I thought he did good,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “He got out of trouble a few times and made a few throws. We’ll just keep working to build off that. He was under pressure quite a bit early on, and I thought he handed it well and didn’t make mistakes — and that’s really important — and played good, solid football. We’re not totally together up front [on the offensive line] right now, and I think he’s doing OK given the circumstances.”

Steelers

Steelers owner Art Rooney II tells Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they’re hopeful franchise RB Le’Veon Bell will report to the team next week.

To be honest, I would hope that it’s next week to give himself two weeks to get acclimated,” Rooney II said. “I don’t think it’s been a distraction to the team, so it’s really a matter of him getting here to get acclimated to being in pads, working with his teammates. There are advantages to be here practicing with your team.

He has not given any indication to anybody that he plans to hold out into the season,” Rooney said. “I hope and anticipate it will be resolved before the regular season starts.”

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