|Work zone: NFL owners, players report ‘constructive’ progress as deal nears||07.15.11 at 7:09 pm ET|
With all signs pointing to an agreement over the weekend, NFL owners and players issued a joint statement late Friday afternoon acknowledging that significant progress has been made in reaching a new collective bargaining agreement and ending the four-month NFL lockout.
The owners and players met Friday for nearly eight hours, then issued a joint statement about their progress.
“The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues,” the statement read. “Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspect of the negotiations. We will provide additional information [as]developments in this process continue.”
The statement comes as both sides reached a breakthrough in negotiations between NFL owners and players, with the economics of a new collective bargaining agreement essentially finalized.
The sides arrived Friday for negotiations at 9 a.m. and continued talks from Thursday. Friday was considered a significant deadline because of an internal deadline to save the preseason in its normal form. “We made some progress,” NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told reporters Friday. “We continue to have a lot of work to do. Our lawyers and other folks are going to continue to work through the weekend. Roger [Goodell] and I will either talk or meet starting tomorrow morning. I know everyone is frustrated and they want a definitive answer. I hate to disappoint you, but you’re not going to get one right now. But we’re going to continue to work and that’s a positive sign.”
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