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Goodell: Owners committed to striking labor agreement

this is a discussion within the NFL Community Forum; Roger Goodell recognized the questioner, even kidded him. But Chad Ochocinco wasn't in a joking mood. Wyche: Window for a deal is open Steve Wyche writes that the time is now for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make ...

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Old 02-05-2011, 12:37 AM   #1
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Goodell: Owners committed to striking labor agreement

Roger Goodell recognized the questioner, even kidded him.

But Chad Ochocinco wasn't in a joking mood.

Wyche: Window for a deal is open
Steve Wyche writes that the time is now for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make something happen before the "window of opportunity" closes and things grow ugly. More ...
The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, reporting for his own OCNN network in Dallas, stood up at Goodell's annual pre-Super Bowl news conference Friday and asked the NFL's commissioner how close the league and players union were to a new contract that would avoid a potential lockout.

"I can tell you the commitment on behalf of the ownership is on getting an agreement," Goodell said. "This is the window of opportunity to get this done right. Otherwise, uncertainty is going to seep into all of our operations. ... I say, let's get to work, let's get an agreement that works for everybody."

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney agrees with the commissioner.

"If they don't talk, I'm pessimistic. If they talk, I'm optimistic," Rooney told NFL Network insider Albert Breer. "I mean serious talk."

Goodell and union officials are scheduled to meet Saturday in Dallas, the first formal bargaining session since November. Two more sessions have been scheduled for next week, at an undisclosed location.

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah described Saturday's meeting as "a window of opportunity" and added: "We intend to go in there with open minds and open ears."

"I don't think it's a good idea to set any expectation, other than the fact that we intend to sit down and continue to have a discussion that should guarantee football for our fans, football for our players," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday.

Goodell said Friday it's imperative to have a deal before the collective bargaining agreement expires in a month.

"I frequently have said that I think March 4 is a very critical date," Goodell said. "A lot of different strategies will take place if we're not successful in getting an agreement by that time.

"We need to have intensive, round-the clock negotiations to address the issues and find solutions. I can assure you that I have that sense of urgency and I believe both sides do."

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