NFL, union agree to 24-hour extension

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The NFL and the players' union will have an additional 24 hours to reach an agreement. (Alex Brandon/AP)

UPDATED: The NFL and the players union have agreed to a 24-hour extension and will return to the federal mediation center tomorrow to keep talking.media members huddle in the evening chill outside mediation center

"The parties have agreed to a one-day extension," federal mediator George Cohen said in a statement.

Reporters who had been waiting in the cold outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Center for the promised Cohen statement were less than overwhelmed, given that the extension had already been announced on the NFL Network, whose cameras were set up just outside the front door.

On his exit from the building, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said: "To all our fans who dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this. We're going to keep working, we want to play football."

That means the union's potential deadline for decertifying moves to 4 p.m. tomorrow with a lockout possible as early as midnight tomorrow night.

The sense seemed to be that a one-day extension buys time to work through the logistics of providing a longer window, a three-day or seven-day extension, which might actually be long enough to address the substantive differences between the sides.

UPDATE: Talks continued this afternoon as the 4 pm deadline for union decertification neared, absent an extension of the league year. Multiple reports indicate the sides are discussing extending the talks.

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WASHINGTON --- NFL management and the players' union are  meeting this morning in what is widely presumed to be the final dance of these negotiations, before the union moves toJason LaCanfora and a buncha cameras decertify this afternoon, and the league presumably locks the players out when the collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, pictured here amid a thicket of TV tripods in front of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Center at 21st and K streets, reported that management is expected to reveal more financial information to the union today than it has previously.

Speculation holds that the talks will break off by early afternoon, so both sides can attend to final details related to the shutdown.

Most of the other essentials can be found in my story in today's Daily News, which I am linking to here because you'd need bloodhounds and a search party to find it on Philly.com.

More coming when it happens.

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