NFL owners hold small meeting in Chicago suburb

I wish I could tell you there has been a significant break in the NFL’s labor impasse.

Unfortunately, after a full day working for the Chicago Tribune at DuPage Airport in West Chicago – a suburb of the city -- I can only report that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft boarded his private jet just after 3:30 (EDT) this afternoon and departed. Leaving just after Kraft was the private jet of the Dallas Cowboys – the one with a blue star on each side of the tail and the registration code N1DC – belonging to Blue Star Management Services Corp. based at 1 Cowboys Parkway in Irving, Texas, according to FAA registration.

A Tribune photographer was there to snap plenty of pictures of the Cowboys jet and Kraft as he boarded his jet, which is registered to Airkraft One Trust Corp.

I can also report that multiple sources said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell arrived at DuPage Airport late Tuesday afternoon. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was spotted by sources and it’s also believed Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, a key voice in the labor process, was present. Both came into the airport Tuesday, according to the sources. None were spotted by me. The NFL office could not provide any details on the meeting. Airport officials were mum.

Where the influential NFL owners were and what their business was, we can only speculate. Is it possible they held a secret meeting with NFLPA executives? Could they be preparing for Friday’s court hearing before the 8th Circuit Court? Perhaps it was a strategy session for what lies ahead as owners are confident they will succeed in the appeal that will finally be heard this week in St. Louis.

What else did I learn about DuPage in a more than seven-hour stay? It has a 24-hour FAA-manned tower and a U.S. Customs office so it’s capable of handling international travel. The price of jet fuel, listed inside, is $5.16 a gallon.

A few passengers came through the main building. A chance to ask Kraft about the labor situation, the lockout and his visit to the western suburbs was foiled when the black SUV he was riding in took him directly on the tarmac to his jet.

Off he went with the answers to my questions. What about an answer to the lockout and labor situation?

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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