NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The NFL and its players were making progress in labor negotiations Tuesday at an undisclosed location in Maryland, trying to break a labor impasse now in its fourth month.
This marks the third week the sides have met. Previous “secret” meetings have taken place in Chicago and New York.
The league said that owners have been asked to keep their schedules flexible in the event that their scheduled meeting next week in Chicago needs to be extended into late Tuesday or even Wednesday.
“The NFL and locked out players have made enough progress in their recent negotiations,” reported Mark Maske of the Washington Post, “that a deal between the two sides is within reach during the next two or three weeks, people on both sides of the dispute said Tuesday.”
A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the two sides are headed in the right direction and that lawyers for the owners and players “are back in the room” after being excluded from sessions the past two weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the meeting are not being made public.
Two other people familiar with the talks told the AP a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement could be in place before the owners’ meetings.
Still, it would be premature to predict an imminent end to the lockout, the people familiar with the talks told the AP.
However, the atmosphere of negotiations has been more positive than it was previously, creating “a sense of movement,” they said.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah posted on his Twitter account that he isn’t predicting “when a resolution to the lockout will come” before adding in another tweet: “We’re focusing all our efforts on a long-term settlement, agreement and resolution. That’s what we can control.”
On hand at the meetings are NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith; several owners, including the Giants’ John Mara and the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones; and a large group of players that includes NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth.
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