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New cast of characters added to labor talks

Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrives for the first negotiating session involving a federal mediator, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


The fifth day of mediated labor negotiations includes some new faces.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal says NFL ownership will be represented, although cautioned that may not necessarily mean actual NFL owners. For example, Albert Breer of NFL Network reports Redskins G.M. Bruce Allen is in attendance.

(A quick aside: Isn’t ownership represented by the league there every day?)

The NFLPA added Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth to the mix. Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer made his first appearance on Monday representing the players.

It will be interesting to see when actual NFL owners get involved in the face-to-face talks. Florio has speculated that these early mediation sessions have focused on smaller issues in the hopes of creating momentum and building consensus. It makes a lot of sense. (And not only because I’m paid to say that.)

Putting NFL owners in the room could ultimately be a sign the two sides are moving towards larger problems, and the inherent difficulties those issues create. (Including the possibility of a breakdown in talks.)

For now, the talks have gone off without any interruption, drama, or leaks to the media. Let’s hope that continues.

UPDATE: Kaplan now reports the NFL says no owners will be in attendance on Tuesday.

UPDATE II: A league source tells us that Allen’s involvement is not new or particularly significant; Allen also participated over the weekend.