NFL Lockout Talks Go Past Midnight: What Does It Mean?

We've had a busy week with negotiations between the owners and players to end the NFL lockout. It started on Tuesday when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, and their respective legal teams, met for the first time in weeks without owners and players present. The talks continued on Wednesday for a brief time until both Goodell and Smith flew to Florida together to speak at the NFLPA rookie symposium.

That brings us to Thursday when the owners and players were brought back into the room. The talks went 'round the clock as the two sides met past midnight into Friday morning.

That's 15 hours of negotiating on Thursday alone. While there is a general air of optimism surrounding the talks, several hiccups have come across this week. The main issue is, of course, the money. Reports indicate that the players feel the owners are going backwards on the revenue split now suggesting a smaller piece of the pie for the players.

The past several weeks reports have said more and more optimism is coming out of the talks. That apparently prompted Smith to speak with several players via a conference call and tell them that the talks aren't as close as being reported. Some believe he said that knowing full well that it would leak to the media. The reason for this would be to make sure that the players don't get their hopes up regarding the prospects of getting a deal done soon.

The talks will continue on Friday with slightly less optimism than before. The deadline to get a deal done in order to save training camp and the preseason is coming soon -- some suggest a rough deadline of July 15 -- so the two sides need to first figure out how to split the money, and then hopefully everything else falls in line.

Remember, this has been a long negotiation. There are going to be hiccups along the way. Let's just hope this is a hiccup, and not a deal-breaker.

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