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UPDATED 06/03/11 7:17 a.m.
ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CBS) – An analyst says a recent meeting between NFL players and owners in the western suburbs might be evidence that the two sides could be seeking to solve their dispute on their own.
Speaking to USAToday, former NFL executive Andrew Brandt said the meeting this week at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles might have been “a case of both sides saying, ‘Let’s handle our own business, rather than letting the court decide.’”
Regardless, the court will be hearing arguments Friday about the continuing labor dispute and lockout. The 8th District U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis is set to hear arguments by team owners to maintain the lockout.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith led their sides in the meeting, USAToday reported.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft were also among those on hand. However, not all of the 32 league owners were made aware of the meetings before they began.
The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs says he expects a contract might be in place between owners and players by the end of the month, but that doesn’t necessarily mean training camp will start on time.
“It’s going to take time – you’ve got your free agents that you are concerned about, and there’s other free agents out there… that’s a process that to me, you need a little bit of lead-up time for it, you need to say, ‘OK guys, it’s Friday; next Wednesday you’ve got to start,” Biggs said on the Mully & Hanley Show on WSCR-670 AM The Score.
As to the hearing Friday, Biggs said most people expect the owners to prevail. But he points out the appeals panel will not make a ruling for some time.
“It might not be July until we get a ruling on this, so the hope is that what they started on St. Charles in the last couple of days can get the momentum going,” he said.
Goodell, Smith and several owners are expected to be in court Friday.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)