There have been any number of unforeseen twists and turns in the soap opera that the NFL lockout has become. Now, we have a new one. It seems like the mediator in the case has something better to do starting Saturday. He's going on vacation.
Putting more pressure on the negotiators, U.S. District Judge Arthur Boylan, the mediator in the talks, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday, sources said. But both sides are committed to stay in New York this weekend to try to finish the deal. The sides did not get together on weekends during negotiations the past month.
Of course, there's nothing saying that the sides can't strike a deal even if the mediator is gone fishin', and in fact negotiators are saying they're going to try to do that. But it does leave one less avenue for resolving things if talks blow up -- and the path of the lockout so far has told us that expectations aren't always the best guide for what happens next.