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NFL, NFLPA confirm discussions between owners, players

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By PFW staff

The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement Wednesday confirming that discussions have resumed this week.

"NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week. Those discussions will continue."

League spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted that commissioner Roger Goodell, Jerry Richardson, Clark Hunt, Robert Kraft, John Mara and Dean Spanos attended this week's talks. All five of those owners are members of the NFL's labor committee and have been involved in most of the negotiations.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was joined by player reps Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth at the meetings.

The two sides reportedly met at a hotel on Long Island, per NFL Network's Albert Breer, in talks that resumed on Tuesday. They first reopened the talks without lawyers last week in a western Chicago suburb.

Goodell spoke with Buccaneers season-ticket holders on Wednesday. "Both sides are working hard to reach an agreement. That's a positive step for everybody," he said. "We are going to continue to work at it. I believe both sides want to find solutions. I'm hopeful we're going to be successful."

In a story on NFL.com posted Wednesday, Breer cited sources from both sides acknowledging that there is a window in the month of June to get a deal done. "Both sides feel the pressure now," a league source said in the story. According to the report, the league could lose around $1 billion if the preseason is canceled.

The U.S. 8th District Court of Appeals is expected to have a decision on the legality of the lockout by early July.

The way we see it

As always, any type of discussions between the two sides is always a good thing. For the NFL and NFLPA to release a joint statement confirming the talks also shows the commitment to get to work.

Players have complained that the lack of presence by owners who can get a deal done has made negotiations difficult. But influential owners are on hand for these talks.

Arguably the most important part of this news is the last line of the statement: "Those discussions will continue." As long as the two sides keep talking and negotiations don't hit a snag, there can be much-needed optimism on the labor front.

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