As you’ve likely heard by now, the NFL and NFL Players’ Association agreed to a seven-day extension of their talks toward a new collective bargaining agreement yesterday.
Though the sides are taking the weekend off (these two days count toward the seven), when they resume on Monday they will be without NFL Labor Committee member Robert Kraft.
Kraft, along with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, will be part of a 10-day trade mission to Israel and the United Kingdom and therefore will not be in the room in Washington D.C.
A trusted confidant of league commissioner Roger Goodell and one of 10 men on the league’s labor group (along with the Panthers’ Jerry Richardson, Denver’s Pat Bowlen, Pittsburgh’s Art Rooney, the Chiefs’ Clark Hunt, the Packers’ Mark Murphy, the Giants’ John Mara, Dallas’ Jerry Jones, San Diego’s Dean Spanos and Cincinnati’s Mike Brown), Kraft has said on several occasions that he believes there’s no need for a lockout and that the league and union can get a deal done.
At the Super Bowl, Kraft said the sides could come to a pact if the lawyers were kicked out of the room and reportedly the Pats’ owner snapped at league labor attorney Bob Batterman for speaking in “legalese platitudes.”
Though Kraft may not be in the room, as Greg Aiello, the NFL’s PR guru tweeted this afternoon, “there’s phone service in Israel.”