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But the threat of a lockout has sped up the pace of negotiations.
After months of infrequent and sometimes contentious talks, the sides went more than two months without any formal bargaining until Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl. The sides met again once the next week, then called off a second meeting that had been scheduled for the following day.
Cohen said Thursday that the two sides had made “some progress” but “very strong differences remain.”
“We want a deal and our hope is it will get done as quickly as possible,” Smith said Friday.
And so does the city of Indianapolis, which is set to host its first Super Bowl next season.
“I hear that they expect to get it done,” Mayor Greg Ballard said during a visit to the stadium. “I’m glad that they’re talking, that they’re talking seriously. We feel that they’ll get it done.”
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