NFL, players’ union leave mediator’s office

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The NFL and the players’ union have left the federal mediator’s office after a four-hour session.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and other members of the two negotiating teams resumed talks on a new labor deal Monday after taking a break over the weekend.

Mediator George Cohen also left his office shortly after 7 p.m.

The collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of Friday, thanks to two extensions. The league and NFL Players Association have made progress during 11 days at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, but still remain apart on key economic issues.

The NFL has not lost games to a work stoppage since 1987.

The current CBA was agreed to in 2006. Owners exercised an opt-out clause in 2008.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Back at work after a weekend break, the NFL and the players’ union resumed negotiations Monday with Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith on hand while the sides convened before a federal mediator.

The current collective bargaining agreement was set to expire last Thursday, but two extensions have now pushed the cutoff to the end of Friday.

The sides have made progress during 11 days at the offices of mediator George Cohen, but they still remain apart on key economic issues.

Commissioner Goodell, and Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, plus other representatives arrived at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service during the afternoon.

What will happen this week is still anyone’s guess. A deal could be reached at any time. Talks could break off. The sides could agree to yet another extension.

By buying extra time, the league and union made it clear neither was quite ready to make the drastic move of shutting down a league that rakes in $9 billion a year and is more popular than ever. The past two Super Bowls rank No. 1 and No. 2 among most-watched TV programs in U.S. history.

The NFL has not lost games to a work stoppage since 1987. The current CBA was agreed to in 2006. Owners exercised an opt-out clause in 2008.

Money, not surprisingly, is at the center of the standoff.

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