A day after negotiations that are best described as contentious, the NFL owners and players showed back up in force for another round of talks in New York on Thursday.
Both sides brought a small army. Commissioner Roger Goodell had anywhere from 8 to 10 members of the owners’ labor committee with him, including New York Giants owner John Mara and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, according to ESPN report. Also joining them were Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy and San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos.
NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith also showed up with plenty of support, as many as six current or former players joined him.
Talks that have been headed for a new collective bargaining agreement and the end of the four-month-old lockout seemed to take a step back Wednesday over disagreement on a rookie pay scale. The two sides are believed to be at odds over when rookies can become free agents, according to reports.
There have been reports since last week that an agreement could be done by July 21, which would allow the preseason and regular season to begin on time. But if there isn’t at least a handshake deal between the owners and players by Tuesday, most agree it would be nearly impossible to start the season on time.
The first preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 7 between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams. Each day an agreement isn’t reached makes the game look more and more doubtful.
(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)