In a letter to Washington Redskins fans Tuesday, General Manager Bruce Allen expressed optimism that a resolution to the NFL’s labor dispute will be reached as quickly as possible. Allen’s comments were the first any Redskins official had issued since the NFL’s owners imposed a lockout on players Saturday.

“Unfortunately, the union’s abandonment of bargaining and subsequent decertification led to the league’s difficult but necessary step to lock out, something we tried hard to avoid,” Allen wrote. “We remain committed to getting a new deal done and believe the fastest way to a fair agreement is through mediation and not litigation.”

Allen expressed empathy for the fans’ frustrations with the labor standoff, but said team owners’ most recent offer to players was fair.

“We share your disappointment with the lack of progress,” Allen wrote. “The offer that the union walked away from was fair and addressed many of the key issues, including a rookie compensation system, enhanced player health and safety measures, improved retired player benefits and compromises on the union’s financial demands.”

One of Allen’s missions since being hired as general manager has been to improve the team’s relationship with former Redskins players, and in the letter, he stressed the importance of making sure those retired players are adequately taken care of.

“Of particular importance to the Washington Redskins were the additional benefits the proposal would have provided to retired players,” Allen wrote. “Our organization is rich in history and we are proud of the men who have contributed to our glorious past and helped create our great fan base that we all benefit from today. The Redskins Alumni continue to play an integral role within our community, and the union’s decision to walk away from a deal that would have benefited our retired players is especially disappointing.”

After again expressing belief that federal mediation, and not litigation, is the best way to reach an agreement, Allen closed his letter by saying, “We care deeply about our passionate fans of the Burgundy & Gold and we are determined to bring you a winning football team. You should know that the current status of the Collective Bargaining Agreement will not disrupt our preparation for the 2011 season or swerve our focus from the Redskins’ objective – WINNING.”