NFL Labor Negotiations Take You Into The Night

WASHINGTON - MARCH 10: Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday leaves the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute during a 7 day extension of talks. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

It's just after 8:00 p.m. here in NYC, and the owners and player representatives are still negotiating a Manhattan law firm while the rest of us sit on our hands, waiting. Tomorrow, Drew Brees, who earlier today said a new collective bargaining agreement was 'very close,' will arrive in NYC tomorrow to take part in the negotiations.

Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning issued a joint statement earlier today saying:

"We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done."

With negotiators like De Smith, Roger Goodell, Jeff Saturday, Art Rooney, and others poised to work late into the night, the feeling is that an agreement could get finalized 'soon.'

With the joint statement, the radio interview, and the scheduled appearance in Manhattan tomorrow, Brees seems to be working the expectations game, hoping to pressure the owners to stop dragging their feet at the bargaigning table and sign a deal now. From Mike Florio:

Our guess is that Brees has decided to play with the owners the game that the owners have been playing with the players — creating pressure to do a deal by building expectations that a deal is coming.  With fewer and fewer remaining disagreements, someone needs to blink.  The owners think it will be the players.  The players are letting the owners know it won’t happen.

And so once the owners realize that, the two sides can compromise on those final remaining issues.

Tomorrow will be a big day. Hopefully, the owners will see that playing this game of chicken is only going to jeopardize the game and potentially cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

For us Colts fans, if tonight and tomorrow are critical days, it's good to know someone like Jeff Saturday is at the 'center' of things. As reader newportVOL suggested today, this has been a long, tough process for Saturday. Hopefully, he can help finalize this deal so we can get some football going.

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