NFL preps for possible 8-game season

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Despite recent developments in the labor battle that are seen as positive by some, the NFL is planning for a regular season as short as eight games, the Sports Business Journal reported Monday.

The reported plan essentially means that in order to have a 2011 season a new collective bargaining agreement would need to be reached no later than early November.

Under the reported plan, the eight-game season would start in late November and culminate with the Super Bowl in Indianapolis Feb. 12. The NFL has previously cleared the way for the Super Bowl to be played as late as Feb. 12.

The league is looking to give teams five weeks before the season to sign free agents, hold training camps, and possibly play preseason games.

According to NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk, the NFL has said it needs at minimum three weeks between a deal and the start of the season, making early November the latest possible date for a labor agreement.

Lawyers for the NFL owners and players appeared before a federal appeals court Friday to argue the league's appeal of a ruling that invalidated the lockout.

The court urged the sides to find a solution to the labor dispute, with one judge saying neither side will like the eventual ruling. The court is expected to take weeks to decide the appeal.

The hearing followed three days of talks in Chicago that the two sides set up on their own without lawyers present.

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