Associated Press / Associated Press
Washington — The tension and stakes are rising in the NFL labor talks with only a day remaining before the twice-extended collective bargaining agreement expires.
NFL general counsel and lead negotiator Jeff Pash said Thursday the league is committed to getting a deal done, adding: “I don’t know if both sides have an equal commitment. … Obviously, we have the commitment.
“If both sides have an equal commitment to getting this done, it will get done. It’s a process, not an event. Things can come together quickly and they can fall apart quickly.”
When those comments were relayed to NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah, he responded with an e-mail to the Associated Press that said: “Jeff Pash was part of an executive team that sold the networks a $4 billion ticket to a game they knew wouldn’t be played. The only thing they’ve been committed to is a lockout.”
Atallah says the union and the NFL owners didn’t meet face-to-face Thursday. He said union officials were heading home, but would return for talks, if asked by the mediator.
With the twice-extended collective bargaining agreement due to expire today, nine of the 10 members of the owners’ labor committee were at the office of the federal mediator overseeing negotiations.
Union leader DeMaurice Smith, lawyers and several active or former players arrived at the mediator’s office in the morning, then left a few hours later.
The only missing member of the key league group was Patriots owner Robert Kraft, part of a delegation visiting Israel with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Asked Thursday whether he expects next season to start on time, Kraft told the Associated Press: “That’s my belief.”
While Mara, Hunt and Murphy occasionally have participated in the talks since mediation began Feb. 18, a group this large attended only one previous session, last week.
A work stoppage would end 24 years of labor peace
Bronco to stand trial
Details of sexual assault allegations against Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox will remain secret after his attorney waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing on the evidence.
That means the case will proceed directly to a trial.
Cox’s next court date is an arraignment May 16, when he’s expected to enter a plea.