Labor negotiations begin again today

With the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams scheduled to report to training camp in 17 days, time is quickly running out for the NFL owners and players to strike a deal on a new labor agreement.

But the sides are back at it in face-to-face negotiations beginning today in New York. It’s been more than a month now since the parties began a series of weekly get-togethers with a clandestine meeting in St. Charles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. The NFL’s lockout is now four weeks old and without a deal soon, it might be difficult to preserve a full preseason scheduled.

Lawyers are expected to meet today and Wednesday and ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith will join the process beginning Thursday.

Can a deal be done? The parties haven’t hit a deadline of any significance yet. But now they risk missing at least a portion of preseason, and that means risking losing revenue. Hanging in the balance is action from the courts that both sides have appeared in. If the owners and players cannot reach an accord on their own, then perhaps the whole mess is dragged back into the courts with the parties fighting for leverage.

Hopefully, cooler heads prevail this week knowing that a real deadline is approaching.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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