DeMaurice Smith (Damian Dovarganes / AP)

“The Executive Committee of the NFLPA stands firmly united behind Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and what has been accomplished under his leadership,” the committee said in a statement issued by the NFLPA. “Today, we made an affirmative decision on his discretionary compensation. We look forward to having him serve our membership long into the future.”

As Mark Maske reported in early December, Smith did not take a salary during the NFL lockout, which lasted from March until July, and did not receive a bonus in either 2009 or 2010. Earlier this month, Maske wrote, there was considerable but not unanimous support among players on the union’s ruling executive committee to award the bonus to Smith.

Smith’s contract expires in March, but granting the bonus is seen as a significant step toward a long-term deal for him.

CBS’s Mike Freeman first reported the news.