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NEW YORK (AP) — Significant progress on a major sticking point in the NFL labor impasse — soaring rookie salaries — during marathon talks Thursday raised hopes that a tentative agreement could perhaps come within 24 hours, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.
They cautioned, however, that other key issues remained for owners and players to resolve, including free agency and new offseason workout rules.
After meeting for nearly 15 hours Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith, players and owners were back at the negotiating table Friday as they attempted to end the first work stoppage since 1987.
“I know our fans are frustrated and want (us) to get it done,” Smith said as he entered the Times Square office building where the negotiations were being held. “We’ll get everything to the players when the time is right.”
Talks gained steam in May, overseen by a court-appointed mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who is on vacation this week. Boylan ordered both sides to meet with him in Minneapolis early next week, and the owners have a special meeting set for next Thursday in Atlanta, where they potentially could ratify a new deal.
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