Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is optimistic that Aaron Donald's contract standoff is nearing an end.
The star defensive tackle has been absent throughout the offseason for the second straight year as he continues to negotiate a long-term extension.
Donald's holdout continued through to the opening week of last season and he is reportedly "determined not to play" this year until he gets the deal he wants.
With the Rams' September 10 opener against the Oakland Raiders fast approaching, time is running out to solve the issue, though McVay insists progress is being made.
"Things are heating up," McVay, whose team play their final preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, said in quotes reported by ESPN.
"You might see that sooner than later, you know? It could happen. It's exciting. We're very optimistic. Seriously, we are.
"We're going to do everything we can to be proactive. Whether it's before the game or after being out in New Orleans, whatever we can do to make it work and do our part to demonstrate to Aaron how important it is for us to get him here, be a part of this team.
"All jokes aside, there is a level of increased optimism. I'm not really kidding around with that. There are a lot of things that need to get done for it to be finalised, but we're working in a positive direction. Aaron, see you soon, buddy."
Donald, 27, racked up 11 sacks and five forced fumbles as he won Defensive Player of the Year honours last season.