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NFL owners and players still talking with federal mediator

03.04.11 at 11:49 am ET
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The talks between NFL owners and players convened again on Friday morning in Washington, D.C., with a small sliver of optimism permeating the discussions. According to several reports on Friday, the two sides are angling for a longer extension so they can continue talking before the deadline for the 24-hour extension is up at midnight on Friday.

‘€œIf we can make the kind of progress that you needed to make to have a further extension, that’€™s where we’€™d be looking,’€ NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash told reporters before heading in to meet with federal mediator George Cohen. ‘€œHopefully, we can make some progress and keep this thing going. That’€™s obviously in everybody’€™s interest. It’€™s been our goal all along and we’€™re going to just keep at it.’€

ESPN reported late Thursday that Cohen had persuaded both sides to agree on a seven- to ten-day extension of the talks.)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several league executives arrived at Cohen’€™s offices in the morning, while NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and Kansas City guard Brian Waters showed up about two hours later. Each side had been expected to meet separately with Cohen before any negotiations would be held.

Read More: Brian Waters, DeMaurice Smith, George Cohen, Jeff Pash

Page, Green-Ellis among those tendered by Patriots

03.03.11 at 7:45 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Thursday evening that they have extended tenders to restricted free agents BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Jarrad Page. In addition, the team said cornerback Kyle Arrington was tendered an exclusive rights free agent.

The tenders for Green-Ellis and Arrington were already reported, but the decision to tender Page is an indication that the Patriots like what they have in the defensive back, who was hindered by a calf injury for much of the 2010 season, his first in a New England uniform. In all, Page played in 10 games.

If another clubs signs either Green-Ellis or Page to an offer sheet, the Patriots have seven days to match the offer. If they choose not to match, New England will receive the appropriate compensation from the respective club ‘€” reportedly a second-round pick.

Read More: BenJarvus Green Ellis, Jarrad Page, Kyle Arrington,

NFL owners, players agree on 24-hour extension for deadline

03.03.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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In the negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL players and owners have agreed to a 24-hour extension of the deadline, which was originally set for Thursday at midnight. The news, which was first reported by the NFL Network, means that both sides will likely continue talking throughout the day on Friday at the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services in Washington, D.C. in hopes of avoiding the first work stoppage in the NFL since 1987.

Read More: lockout,

Report: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and o-lineman Logan Mankins could lend names to players’ lawsuit

03.03.11 at 3:57 pm ET
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Multiple outlets are reporting Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and offensive lineman Logan Mankins have agreed to serve as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NFL if the players’€™ association decides to decertify. The duo, as well as quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, would lend their names to the suit similar to the one the NFL filed in 1993 that was headlined by former star Reggie White. (That suit, in many ways, paved the way for NFL free agency.)

However, the decertification hammer still hasn’€™t been dropped by the players. If the NFLPA does file for decertification (something they would have to do by 5 p.m. to have it affect the current CBA) the players would be allowed to file suit ‘€” which would then have the names of the players on it ‘€” against the owners for restricting trade. (Disbanding the union would be necessary because a union is not allowed to sue a party with which it is collectively bargaining.) If the decertification paperwork is filed, it’€™s a bad sign for negotiations ‘€” that would start a chain of events where the whole negotiation would end up in the courts, tying up the talks and almost certainly having long-term affects on the game.

‘€œThat would signal a complete breakdown,’€ said Ron Washburn, who teaches a sports law class at Bryant University and has been following the negotiations closely.

Brady, who serves as the Patriots alternate player rep, has weighed in on union matters before ‘€” he talked last year about one of the major sticking points between owners and player, the possibility of an 18-game schedule.

‘€œI’€™ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games. The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented,’€ Brady said. ‘€œLook no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care. Our Union has done a great job of raising the awareness on these issues and will make the right decision for us players, the game and the fans.’€

Read More: Drew Brees, lockout, Logan Mankins, Peyton Manning

Obama: I won’t intervene in NFL lockout

03.03.11 at 2:07 pm ET
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Speaking at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama said he would not intervene in negotiations between NFL owners and players.

‘€œYou’€™ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to $1 billion. You’€™ve got players who are making millions are dollars. My working assumption at a time when people are having to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids’€™ college education is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States intervening,’€ he said.

‘€œI’€™m a big football fan, but I also think for an industry that is making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way and be true to their fans who are the ones who, obviously, allow for all of the money that they are making,’€ he continued. ‘€œMy expectation and hope is that they will resolve it without me intervening, because it turns out I have got a lot of other stuff to do.’€

Read More: Barack Obama, lockout,

Reports: NFL players, owners talking about extension of deadline

03.03.11 at 1:56 pm ET
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Multiple reports now indicate that NFL players and owners are talking about a possible extension of the midnight deadline that would allow them to continue working on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported three sources indicated the extension of the talks are “now a definite possibility,” similar to what happened during CBA negotiations in 2006. It is not known how long the extension would last, but the idea of an extension is an optimistic sign for a negotiation that appears to be coming down to the wire.

Another reason for football fans to be encouraged includes the fact that the players’ union has not yet decided to file for decertification. If the NFLPA does file for decertification ‘€” something they would have to do by 5 p.m. to have it affect the current CBA ‘€” the players would be allowed to file suit against the owners for restricting trade. (Disbanding the union would be necessary because a union is not allowed to sue a party with which it is collectively bargaining.) That would start a chain of events where the whole negotiation would end up in the courts, tying up the talks and almost certainly having long-term affects on the game.

Read More: lockout,

Statement from Bill Belichick regarding the retirement of Stephen Neal

03.03.11 at 1:02 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a statement through the team on Thursday afternoon regarding Stephen Neal‘s decision to retire after 10 seasons with New England.

“They don’t come any better than Steve Neal. In terms of improvement and development as a player, Steve may have accomplished more than any player I have ever been around. His toughness, intelligence and competitiveness were at rare levels and all contributed to him going from being a champion in an individual sport to being an integral part of championship teams. I congratulate Steve for an incredible career and thank him for everything he did for me personally, our team and organization.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Stephen Neal,
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