NEW YORK (AP) NFL owners and player representatives have arrived at a Manhattan office building for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase.
Deadlines are coming up next week to get training camps and the preseason started on time, but the two sides have not been able to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. Players now have been locked out for four months.
Among the sticking points in negotiations have been the rookie wage scale and the structure of free agency.
Players’ association chief DeMaurice Smith along with NFL owners Robert Kraft of the Patriots, John Mara of the New York Giants and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys were seen arriving for the talks Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees say “it is time” for NFL owners and players to wrap up negotiations on a deal to end the lockout.
The three star quarterbacks are among 10 players who are named plaintiffs in an antitrust suit against the NFL that is pending in federal court in Minnesota.
In a statement released to The Associated Press via the NFL Players Association, Brady, Manning and Brees say they think “the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get the deal done.”
The statement continues: “This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)