CHICAGO (CBS) – The NFL is now looking at the very real possibility of not having a 2011 season.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the league and the Players’ Union are headed into talks again Thursday, but neither side is budging.
If a deal is not made by midnight Thursday night, the players could be locked out and al business would stop.
The NFL draft would go on from April 28-30, and teams would still conduct interviews and workouts with college players leading up to the draft. But after that, the teams would not be able to contact their picks, nor sign undrafted rookies.
Veterans would also be in limbo, with no offseason workouts (OTAs) or minicamps held. If the impasse persists, training camps, the preseason and even the next regular season would be in jeopardy.
NFL owners say they need more money to cover their costs, and think players are getting paid too much.
Among the points of contention are the rookie salary cap, which players want to tighten, and a plan to expand each team’s regular season from 16 to 18 games. Owners say that could be a bridge to an agreement and say it will be a revenue maker, but players fear an expanded schedule could mean more injuries.
A four-hour mediation session on Wednesday produced no results.
In the South Loop Thursday morning, Bears fan Mike Krajc had no sympathy for either side.
“I think both sides are a bunch of rich, spoiled babies,” he said. “They need to figure this out. I can’t see why rich people making the kind of money that they’re making can’t figure this out, so they can make more money, on our backs. I’m a season ticketholder.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. A lockout is expected if no new agreement is reached before that.
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