NFL deal may get finished this week

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for the NFL and the players are meeting for two days to sort out paperwork that could speed the process in reaching a new labor contract.

“The owners will not open the doors without a signed document in place,” a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “So this paperwork is important to get done” on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a judge has directed that details of the court-ordered mediated negotiations not be disclosed.

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The 1993 collective bargaining agreement was slowed by the volume of paperwork.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith were not at Tuesday’s meeting at a Manhattan law firm’s headquarters. On Thursday, Goodell and Smith will resume their meetings, with owners and players present. Those talks could last into the weekend if a new CBA appears imminent; the sides did not get together on weekends during negotiations over the last month.

“If things are really close, you could say working through the weekend is possible,” the person said. “But they would need to be really close. If not, they will probably take the weekend off and go back to work next week. But time is running out.”

Indeed, training camps for the Rams and Bears are scheduled to open in less than three weeks. Those teams are supposed to play in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7.