The NFL and its players will be represented in court today as another step in the legal process takes place. Negotiations are also planned to continue next week.
The secret held for only a short time, but the 11th-hour effort to get a labor deal done before today's 8th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing failed. The meeting between the owners and players became public when they were spotted in suburban Chicago prior to a hearing that will surely tip the balance of power in the current struggle to one side or the other. If the lockout is lifted, advantage players. If the lockout is maintained, advantage owners.
It would appear this was a negotiation session designed to loosen the knot before it tightens significantly – one way or the other later today.
This wasn't a little rinky-dink meeting at the local Sizzler. At the table were football's heaviest of hitters, including owners Jerry Jones (Dallas), Bob Kraft (New England). Art Rooney (Pittsburgh), John Mara (New York Giants) and Jerry Richardson (Carolina), as well as players Brian Dawkins
, Jeff Saturday
, Tony Richardson
and Mike Vrabel
Who was missing? The lawyers. The only people getting rich over this Battle of the Bucks are the high-priced attorneys for both sides billing their clients. This was a meeting of those intimately involved in the process – owners looking to improve the deal that they agreed to when the last CBA delayed free agency and players looking to maintain the ground they had gained in the last CBA.
While no deal was struck, one has to believe that the meetings will eliminate some of the lesser issues. Both sides are convinced they are going to win, but the players have lost two decisions in the same court they're going to argue their case today.
What is at stake may be the 2011 season itself. If the lockout is maintained, the owners will hold all the major cards. If the lockout is lifted, the players will have the hammer. Today is the 80th day of lockout and, it can be argued, the most important.
Mediation sessions scheduled for next week have been cancelled. U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan was pressing both sides to settle the case before one side got the upper hand following the Eighth Circuit Court ruling, which led to the secret meetings.
Ray Edwards will continue his boxing career Friday, June 24 at Grand Casino Hinckley when he faces Larry Butler. Edwards won his pro debut May 20 in Hinckley. On the undercard of the Edwards fight, Butler won his pro debut against Van Goodman, setting up the second fight for both.
Former Viking Jim Marshall is getting into the restaurant business. Viking Legends Sports Bar & Grill is scheduled to open next week in Two Harbors on the shores of Lake Superior. The bar/restaurant is going to have a Vikings theme.
Give some credit to Pete Carroll for keeping his Seattle Seahawks on point. As with many other teams, the Seahawks are getting together for workouts on their own. An estimated 35-40 Seattle players have showed up for the workouts.
The backlash on NFL Coaches Association filing a brief in favor of the players continues to mount. Seven teams – Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington – have made public statements saying the NFLCA brief in favor of the players didn't represent their views of the current labor impasse.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.