NFL to teams: Prep for lengthy meeting

BY Alex Marvez • June 14, 2011

The recent labor negotiations between the NFL and its locked-out players might finally be paying dividends.

The NFL has advised its teams to prepare for the possibility of a prolonged league meeting next Tuesday in Chicago. The session could lay the groundwork for approval of a new collective-bargaining agreement that would end the work stoppage now entering its fourth month.

Owners might now meet until late Tuesday night or even into Wednesday, which is longer than originally scheduled. News of the potential meeting extension was first reported by ESPN.

Meanwhile, a group of NFL owners and player representatives are meeting again today and Wednesday in the Washington D.C. area, ESPN and the NFL Network reported.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith are among the representatives who have engaged in a series of recent meetings outside a courtroom setting. While legal proceedings between the two sides continue, numerous media reports indicate substantial progress is being made toward a new labor deal that would allow for an on-time start to training camps and the regular season.

Although a new CBA likely wouldn’t be announced at the NFL meeting, a deal could come in the following weeks after final details are hashed out between the two sides. Approval from 24 of 32 NFL owners is needed for passage of a new CBA.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has said reaching a labor deal by July 4 is essential for an on-time start to training camps. Further delays could result in the postponement of preseason contests.

An NFLPA official took a cautious approach to the latest developments.

“I don’t predict when a resolution to the lockout will come,” NFLPA executive George Atallah wrote on a Twitter post. “We’re focusing all our efforts on a long-term settlement, agreement and resolution. That’s what we can control.”

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