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NFL Lockout: Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith Return To Table

Lawyers for the NFL and NFLPA have been meeting in New York for labor negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday but it's now time for the real power players to re-enter the room. On Thursday and Friday, the NFL lockout talks will again include NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as five owners, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, as well as five players.

As Don Banks of SI.com notes, the meetings between Goodell and the owners and Smith and the players is when actual progress is made.

That's a very positive sign, because it's the six-on-six, face-to-face formula that has resulted in most of the progress that has been made in these talks, with the principles in one room, and the lawyers and accountants for both sides meeting in a separate room. Reflecting the mounting sense of urgency on both sides, this set of talks is scheduled to continue indefinitely if progress is being made. No more weekend breaks are expected unless negotiations founder.

And then there's the fact that the mediator, Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, is going on vacation on Saturday, which is even more of a reason to wrap this thing up very soon. That doesn't mean they can't do a deal without him but it should be a reason for urgency on both sides so as not to disrupt any momentum in the talks.

Stay tuned for more NFL lockout news