For weeks, we’ve been hearing from sources on the owners’ side that the league and players are getting close to wrapping up a new collective bargaining agreement.

Suddenly today, the players are talking a confident game. Earlier, Tomlinson passed on an encouraging statement of commitment to getting things done that was released this morning by the players. Not long after that, Drew Brees — who has arguably been the face of the trade organization formerly known as the NFLPA during this agonizing process — toldĀ a San Diego sports radio station that the two parties are “very close to a settlement.”

From Will Brinson at CBSSports.com:

On Wednesday while on XX Radio 1090 in San Diego, Brees confirmed our belief about the statement, and made some even stronger noise about the current state of the lockout, pointing ou that a deal is “very close,” and that “few details” remain in nailing down a labor agreement.

“We’ve taken a significant setback in overall revenue in terms of what we’ve offered them compared to what we were making,” Brees said. “I feel like there’s a fair deal there — we all do — and we think it’s time to step up and make a deal.”

And that’s precisely why the three most notable players in the current labor negotiations issued a statement regarding their stance.

“Yesterday we felt like there’s a fair deal on the table and we need to make sure everybody knows this and make sure the owners know this because the season is just around the corner,” Brees said about the statement the players issued.

If Brees and the players say we’re close, I believe we’re actually/finally/maybe close. It appears the ball truly is on the one-yard line, and it would take a monumental fumble to prevent the two sides from crossing the plane of the end zone at some point in the next few days.