Goodell: Direct dialogue 'is going to lead to progress'

Roger Goodell got far away from the secret settlement talks he was part of earlier this week in St. Charles, Ill., but he couldn’t get away from the black labor cloud that is hanging over the game.

The NFL commissioner spent the day touring Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., the home of the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations forces. And everywhere he turned, he was asked about the labor situation, just as he was Thursday in St. Charles by this reporter when Goodell finally shut the door to the SUV he was in, declining to say much of anything. He offered more during his visit with troops.

"I think it's fair to say that any time you have dialogue directly, that's going to lead to progress. I think we need more of that,” Goodell said, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “You've heard me say many times, I think this is going to be resolved through bargaining, not through litigation. That's a positive sign for us.”

Goodell was joined for the day by Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who was a military kid growing up. Goodell said both sides will meet again “soon.” When that is, no one can be certain but next week would make sense. He told Person he plans to prepare for the next round of talks over the weekend.

“I think both sides want to continue the dialogue, and I think that's a positive thing," Goodell said. “The importance is to have the principals talk. That's what we were interested in doing is having the owners and the players talk to one another. That was accomplished this week.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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