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NFL Lockout: Players Association, Owners Set To Meet Again On Wednesday With 'Cautious Optimism'

Lost in the flurry of legal activity and statements on Tuesday evening was the fact that the NFLPA and NFL owners were at the bargaining table, meeting for six hours as the two sides negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, with the owners planning to stage a lockout if a new deal isn't reached. The players association and the league will be back at the bargaining table again on Wedensday in what should be an intriguing bargaining session.

The NFLPA scored a major victory on Tuesday after Judge David Doty ruled the current television agreements -- structured to pay the owners even if a lockout occurs -- were in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. In doing so, Doty cut off the supply of funds to the league in the event of a lockout, leveling the playing field for the players and, perhaps, forcing both sides to come together at the bargaining table.

As for the meetings themselves, Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chester Pitts emerged from Tuesday's session cautiously optimistic and upbeat about the talks.

Seattle Seahawks guard Chester Pitts, part of a large group of players who accompanied NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to the negotiations, said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the talks.

"The fans should know that both parties are hammering away at it and really trying to get a deal done," said Pitts, who attended the first 3½ hours of Tuesday's talks.

The tone is in contrast to just a few weeks ago when the owners walked away from the bargaining table and filed a motion accusing the NFLPA of failing to negotiate in good faith. Since then, the two sides met with a mediator and scheduled the last-minute talks taking place this week. It's unclear how the talks are going as both sides have been tight-lipped, outside of issuing statements about Doty's ruling.

For more on the negotiations ahead of Thursday's deadline, check out the rest of our NFL lockout StoryStream.