CANTON, OHIO, AUG. 4 -- NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said today league management and players could have a new collective bargaining agreement before the end of the 1990 season.

There has been no contract since 1987, when the last five-year agreement expired and players went on a month-long strike in mid-season.

Tagliabue was appearing at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for the 1990 class that included former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris and linebacker Jack Lambert, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Buck Buchanan, Miami Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese, San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Bob St. Clair and Ted Hendricks, a linebacker with the Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers and the Raiders in Oakland and Los Angeles.

Asked about his apparent optimism over what have often been stalled and unproductive labor negotiations, Tagliabue said: "I didn't say there would be one. I didn't say there's going to be one. I said there could be."

He also was non-committal on the efforts of Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka, who is trying to create a new union to challenge the NFL Players Association and its executive director, Gene Upshaw.

Asked which union the league might reach the agreement with, Tagliabue said, "We'll find one."

The commissioner said he thought it would be best for the league and its players to avoid litigation in the future.

"We lost the developmental squads because of litigation," he said. "That's 168 jobs lost. When things go to court, it's possible that destructive things will happen."

The six-man developmental squads paid players $1,000 per week but were challenged by the players association as a price-fixing technique by the owners. Management decided last month to drop the squads.

Landry won two Super Bowls and played or coached for 40 years in the NFL, but said the last 12 months have been the most bittersweet.

"I got fired and I'm in the Hall of Fame all in one year," Landry said with a chuckle during his induction speech.

Harris, Lambert and Landry were elected in their first year of eligibility. The seven additions bring to 155 the number of members.

Landry's 270 wins during his career in Dallas are exceeded only by George Halas and Don Shula. But he said that after a 13-38-3 record in the first four seasons of the Cowboys, his job was in jeopardy. "They called a press conference and everybody said Landry's gone," he recalled. "It turned out that {Cowboys owner} Clint Murchison walked in and said, 'I'm going to give him a 10-year contract.' Now that's loyalty, that's support."

Landry won Super Bowls in 1971 and 1977. His teams lost three Super Bowls, two to the Steelers.

Lambert, a second-round draft pick out of Kent State, was a force in the middle of the Steelers' famed Steel Curtain defense that resulted in four Super Bowl wins.

Harris, who rushed for 12,120 yards during his 12 years with the Steelers and one with Seattle, called Pittsburgh "the greatest team of all time."

Griese guided the Dolphins two Super Bowl victories. He passed for 25,092 yards and 192 touchdowns during his 14 seasons, but attributed his success to his ability to learn from failure. "I was a guy who learned from his mistakes," he said. "When I look at the guys going in with me, I see a lot of my mistakes: Buchanan, Hendricks, Lambert. . . . I think I helped these guys get in here."

Buchanan, a 6-foot-7, 274-pounder from Grambling, starred for 13 years with the Chiefs and helped them to a Super Bowl victory in 1970.

St. Clair, the senior nominee, spent his entire 11-year career (1953-63) with the 49ers. All-NFL three times, he also started in five Pro Bowls.