After lawyers for the NFL owners and the NFLPA met for close to 11 hours yesterday, the big names in the NFL labor negotiations rejoined the talks today. Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are back at the negotiating table, as are a number of players. The talks are continuing with the hope of enough progress being made so that a deal can be completed at some point in the next week.
Even though Goodell and Smith were not at the meetings earlier this week, some progress was reportedly made.
According to sources, the parties took small, incremental steps necessary to completing a deal. Among the tasks were clarifying and discussing paperwork, and going over language and details.
The idea is to get legwork out of the way to smooth the process for the owners and players, who will handle the larger issues. As one person in the room put it, "There's only so much we can do."
Judge Arthur Boylan, who has served as the mediator in the negotiations, is scheduled to leave for a vacation on Saturday. That, along with the need to get a deal done soon to save the preseason, should hopefully kick the sense of urgency up a level. The clock is ticking, and unless both sides want to have the mess of losing part of the preseason on their hands, a deal needs to be done soon.