NFL Lockout: Mediation Sessions For Next Week Canceled, Possible CBA Negotiations Between Owners And Players

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) executive director DeMaurice Smith (C) and NFL players Jeff Saturday (L) and Charlie Batch (R) talk with the media following meetings at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

OK, we might have some genuinely good news developing regarding the survival of NFL football. According to Dan Kaplan at SBJ, Minnesota Federal court has canceled mediation set next week, saying it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with NFL owners and the players. This news comes right on the heels of the reports (now confirmed) that De Smith, Jeff Saturday, and others player reps met with a group of owners today in Chicago 'in secret.'

What does all this mean? We turn to NFL Network's Albert Breer and his Twitter account:

OK, in layman's terms ... Parties are in "settlement discussions", per the court, which isn't the same, but not far from CBA negotiations.

... In 1993, the last time issues this serious existed, the NFL and players reached a "settlement". Terms of the next CBA were in it.

So, for the first time since March, we may actually have some negotiating going on here. Maybe Jim Irsay's declaration of 'we need an agreement by July 4th' has gotten the attention of some people.

[UPDATE]: From PFT, via Twitter:

Maybe owners realize having 8th Circuit as the umbrella to Judge Nelson isn't that big of a concession.

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