Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal is reporting that the NFL and NFLPA have engaged in settlement talks, prompting the courts to cancel mediation scheduled for next week. These settlement talks have included several of the key players on both sides of the ball, and no lawyers.
On the owners’ side, Jerry Jones Art Rooney and John Mara were among those present. On the players’ side, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith was present alongside Domonique Foxworth, Mike Vrabel, Kevin Mawae, Tony Richardson and Jeff Saturday – all current or former players.
I’m hesitant to be too optimistic about this news, but it is exciting that to hear about both sides sitting down together again. And even more importantly, it looks like these talks are more than just a formality; with important owners and players both taking part in the talks, it seems as though the owners may be treating these talks more seriously than they have in the past.
Could the owners be starting to feel some pressure to reach a settlement? The season is edging closer and closer every day, and before we know it, it’s going to be mid-July and the season will be just around the corner. I tend to believe nothing is going to happen until the appeals process is seen through in entirety – the owners and players will want to see who has leverage after taking things fully through the court process – but at the very least, this is a step in the right direction.