WASHINGTON -- The NFL and their players union agreed to a seven-day extension of their CBA Friday, giving them another week to try to avoid a full-out labor war and finally instilling a measure of optimism into their negotiations.
The two sides will return to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on Monday to work on a new deal before the CBA will expire. The deal avoids the prospect of an owners' lockout and union decertification, which seemed likely as recently as two nights ago.
"We believe, as I've said many times before, that this will be solved through negotiations," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He said the two sides will "continue to work hard."
"Talking is better than litigating," he said.
"We're looking forward to getting back together with the players association next Monday," said. the league's chief counsel, Jeff Pash. "We're at a stage where the issues have been joined, there's been tremendous amount of discussion, it's time for us to dig deep and try to find solutions and try to be creative and try to compromise in a way that will work for everybody."
He added, "If both sides give a little, everyone can gain a lot, and that's what we have to try to do next week."
The two sides still have very real differences, he said, but the decision to extend their deadline puts action behind statements that both sides want to avoid a lockout.
We'll have more later online and in Saturday's Inquirer.