Labor watch: deadline nears

WASHINGTON -- The lockout watch is on Friday morning. League representatives began arriving at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building shortly after 9 a.m. and a large NFLPA contingent -- including players and lawyers both -- showed up around 10.

After days of rhetoric, there should be real news today -- either in the form of a lockout and decertification, or at least another extension.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said around 9:15 that he expects some news within a couple of hours. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said yesterday he expects to update players around 2 p.m. today -- leaving relatively little time for talks today to try to reach another extension. A deal today seems completely out of reach.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a member of the NFLPA's executive committee, laid out a brief summary of the players' argument on Twitter.

"The NFL brought this fight to us - they want $1 billion back, we jsut want financial information to back up that request," Brees wrote. "They refuse to give us that information to us. They think we should just trust them. Would you?"

Smith had little to say about the labor talks, but instead spoke about the disaster in Japan.

"This morning our thoughts and prayers are with the folks in Japan. There are some things that make sure that all things are in perspective," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with people who are digging out right now and for people who are preparing for the worst."

Smith has somehow worked the word "dig" into seemingly all of his recent public comments, though usually in the context of fans who "dig our game."

All signs Thursday night were of an ugly day today, likely with a decertification by players and lockout by owners. While an extension is still possible, the war of words Thursday was going in the opposite direction.

Eagles president Joe Banner is among the NFL contingent here this morning.

We'll keep you posted as things develop.

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