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NEW YORK (CBS) — As the NFL labor dispute apparently comes closer to resolution, a group of NFL retirees have joined the talks.
The retirees, led by 1960s and ’70s Minnesota Vikings star Carl Eller, have a pending lawsuit against the NFL. They will sit in Tuesday as settlement talks proceed between NFL players and team owners in hopes of ending the ongoing dispute and lockout, USA Today reported.
Attorneys for the retirees hope their interests will be considered in whatever new labor deal is hammered out, USA Today reported.
Lawyers for the NFL Players Association and the league began talks in New York Monday, aimed at ending the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987.
Owners are meeting in Atlanta on Thursday, when they could ratify a new deal – if one is reached by then.
The lockout began March 12, when negotiations broke down and the old collective bargaining agreement expired. The NFLPA announced it was dissolving itself and would no longer be a union that could bargain for all players under labor law, instead saying it was now a trade association. That allowed players to take their chances against the NFL in federal court under antitrust law.
The sides are trying to put together a tentative agreement in principle in time to keep the preseason completely intact. The exhibition opener is scheduled to be the Hall of Fame game between the St. Louis Rams and the Bears on Aug. 7, and as of Sunday, no preseason games had been canceled.
The regular season opener is scheduled for Sept. 8, when the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers are to host the New Orleans Saints.
(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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.)