THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
NFL notebook

Mediator huddles with sides

Associated Press / February 19, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

Commissioner Roger Goodell and union head DeMaurice Smith met in front of a federal mediator for about six hours yesterday, a bid to jump-start contentious and slow-moving labor negotiations two weeks before owners could lock out players and threaten the 2011 season.

The session was the sides’ first with George Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a US government agency.

More than two hours after Goodell and Smith arrived separately, the league and the NFL Players Association released a joint statement saying the mediation had started and that both parties agreed to adhere to Cohen’s request that they not speak publicly about the process.

True to their word, Smith and other union representatives — including Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, former player Pete Kendall, and NFLPA lawyer Richard Berthelsen — declined to answer questions on their way out of the meeting.

“There’s not going to be any comment,’’ Smith said as he walked out at 6:15 p.m., more than seven hours after he arrived.

Goodell and other members of the NFL’s bargaining team — including the league’s lead labor negotiator, Jeff Pash, and NFL outside counsel Bob Batterman — avoided media members in front of the building entirely. They left via another exit.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the sides would resume talks, although originally there were plans for several days of negotiations with Cohen present.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of the day March 3, and the union has said it expects a lockout to come as soon as the next day.

Colts release Sanders Safety Bob Sanders couldn’t stay healthy and as a result the Indianapolis Colts released the 2007 defensive player of the year. The move was not a major surprise. After winning the league’s top defensive honor, Sanders signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract but played in only nine regular-season games over the next three seasons because of injuries . . . The Steelers placed the franchise tag on linebacker LaMarr Woodley . . . Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Bears and Giants, died Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. He was 50. Miami Police said investigators have not determined the cause of death and are awaiting the medical examiner’s report. Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on Chicago’s 1985 team that beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Patriots Video

Follow our twitter accounts