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Kessler is in D.C., but not in the mediation session

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If there was any doubt that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has benched divisive outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, that doubt should now be almost completely removed.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that Kessler has made the trip from New York to D.C. on Tuesday, but that Kessler isn’t attending the Tuesday morning mediation session.

Kessler wasn’t even in town on Monday, citing a prior commitment that he inexplicably made at a time when he had every reason to know that he’d be otherwise occupied with the NFL labor dispute on March 7, three days after the scheduled expiration of the labor deal. The fact that he’s now in Washington but not in the meeting tends to reinforce the growing belief that Smith believes Kessler had become an impediment to getting a deal done, regardless of whether his advice or tactics had become tainted by the fact that, if the union decertifies and sues, Kessler will become the de facto head of the non-union union.

If it helps get a deal done, no one should care. Except, of course, Kessler, whose longstanding NFLPA gravy train finally may be pulling into the station.