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Clock ticks down in NFL labor talks
Asked what he expected to happen heading toward the CBA’s expiration, he added: “I never have expectations, except to have A, B, C, D and E, and to always plan for F. It changes. A chessboard that moves around and things happen at unusual hours.”
Labor committee members who attended the talks Wednesday were: Mara, Murphy, Kraft, Jones, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers, Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Brown of Cincinnati Bengals, Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers, and Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos.
Brees, a member of the NFLPA executive committee, and Mawae hadn’t attended this round of mediated negotiations, which began Feb. 18. But now all members of the union’s executive committee have been present at least once.
“We’re talking,” Mawae said when he left. “It’s better than not talking.”
Because Cohen told both sides to stay silent publicly about the current talks, no one has revealed any specifics about what progress might have been made.
The biggest sticking point all along has been how to divide the league’s revenues, including what cut team owners should get up front to help cover certain costs, such as stadium construction. Under the old deal, owners received about $1 billion off the top. They entered these negotiations seeking to add another $1 billion to that.
Among the other significant topics: a rookie wage scale; the owners’ push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games; and benefits for retired players.
Cohen said last week that the sides were far apart on the core issues.
By the end of Thursday, more will be known about exactly how far apart.
“I don’t want to put any certainty on what this evening might bring or tomorrow might bring,” Irsay said Wednesday. “It’s really, truly hard to predict. These things change.”
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writer Joseph White in Chantilly, Va., Larry Lage in Detroit and Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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