After two days, the most recent talks between the owners and players have concluded, and though there are still several major issues to work through, both sides appear to be on the same page about one key issue — it's best to get a deal done sooner than later. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith each made statements after the talks, and for the first time, each man basically said the same thing — not a bad sign at all.
You obviously know we met over the last couple of days. We are under court order as far as what we can discuss so our comments will be brief. But obviously we're all working hard. The players and owners were here over the last two days. De and I were here for the entire meetings also. And it's complicated and it's complex, but we're working hard and we understand the fans' frustration. But I think both of us feel strongly that we're going to continue to work hard at it.
Someone asked me whether I was optimistic. I think we're both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we're talking about the right issues and that we're working hard to get it done. It is extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but we're committed to getting something done and we're going to keep working at it. Just to wrap up: we're working hard, we understand the fans' frustration, I know our players' frustration. We're going to keep working hard and try to make sure we get a deal done.
It's not known at this time when talks will continue; the NFLPA will be putting on the Rookie Symposium in Florida early next week, which will be taking up its time for a few days. Most people in the know say that the "drop-dead" date for an agreement to come together in a way that would not affect the preseason would be July 15. So, both sides still have a lot to do in firming up all the details.
As we have all along, we'll keep you up to date as things progress.