NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith have arrived to start a second straight day of negotiations at a law firm in Manhattan.
Members of the NFL Players’ Association executive board and owners are meeting Friday in hopes of resolving a lockout that began in March.
Entering the building were several executive board members, including President Kevin Mawae and NFL owners. The owners included John Mara of the Giants and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Smith said as he emerged from the session on Thursday. “We spent all day working hard for a deal that is fair and in keeping with what the players deserve.”
While Smith stressed the gaps in the deal, players involved in a lawsuit against the league had a conference call during which it became clear the two sides were close to agreement on the rules for free agency, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the labor talks are not being announced publicly, said even with the progress in the negotiations another long day of talks was expected today.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan, who has served as a mediator between the two sides, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday, but talks are expected to continue in his absence.
Lawyers for both sides gathered on Tuesday and Wednesday to put together some of the paperwork that will be needed when a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement is struck.
Players and owners have been holding meetings around the country over the last six weeks, with pressure mounting to break the labor impasse. A major sticking point has been how to divide revenues for a $9 billion business that is easily the most popular professional sports league in America.
Some training camps are set to open in less than three weeks and the first exhibition game, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is Aug. 7. Hall of Fame president Steve Perry has said the plan now is that the game will go on as scheduled.
New York Assistant Attorney General Richard Schwartz said in a letter to Goodell this week that the lockout will “inflict significant economic injuries statewide.” The Jets have canceled their planned training camp in the small upstate city of Cortland, he noted. The Giants and SUNY Albany are still hopeful for their camp.
NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement: “While we are hopeful that the NFL and its players will reach an agreement to end the ongoing lockout in the near future, this office will take all appropriate steps to protect New Yorkers — many of whom rely on the significant economic activity generated by the NFL — as well as state and local governmental entities.”
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