- Associated Press - Friday, February 18, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and union head DeMaurice Smith have arrived for the first negotiating session involving a federal mediator.

Goodell was accompanied Friday by outside counsel Bob Batterman and lead NFL labor negotiator Jeff Pash. Smith was joined by union lawyer Richard Berthelsen, Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch and former player Jim McFarland.

Goodell and Smith declined comment on their way into the meeting.

It was not known how long the meeting would last.

George H. Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, announced Thursday that both sides had agreed to have him participate in talks.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of the day March 3, and negotiations have been slow.

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