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Not-so-secret meeting was lawyer-free (except for De)

James Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler, attorneys for the NFL Players Association enter a federal courthouse to resume court-ordered mediation in Minneapolis

James Quinn (L) and Jeffrey Kessler (R), attorneys for the NFL Players Association, enter a federal courthouse to resume court-ordered mediation regarding labor and revenue issues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in Minneapolis, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)


For months, key figures on each side of the NFL’s labor dispute have called for negotiations to occur without the lawyers present.

Finally, it has happened.

Updating and clarifying prior information on the Chicago-area meeting between the league and representatives of the NFLPA*, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that no lawyers attended, with the exception of NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith. Accompanying Smith were NFLPA* president Kevin Mawae and Executive Committee members Jeff Saturday and Mike Vrabel.

Attending for the NFL were Commissioner Roger Goodell, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-0wner John Mara, and Steelers owner Art Rooney.

The fact that five owners participated when a rotation of four have been attending court-ordered mediation sessions is a positive sign, but the absence of men like Jeff Pash, Bob Batterman, Jim Quinn, and Jeff Kessler represents the best news. It means that the two sides are moving toward trying to find a win-win solution, with the lawyers left to iron out the details after a consensus is reached on the bigger issues.