Once the 5pm deadline passed without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFLPA made their strategic move to file papers to de-certify their uion and renouncing representation of the players in the NFL. This now paves the way for individuals to sue the league for anti-trust viloations if the owners lock out the players and the sparks will now begin to fly.
The players have banded together and the big names will now take center stage as the lawsuits will start to be filed. It has been reported that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are among the players will will file the initial lawsuits, with many more to follow.
Here is the article with the league's official statement on NFL.com.
Here is more from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on NFLLabor.com.