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Extension of extension looks good

Washington, D.C. - The morning after the NFL and NFLPA decided to extend the deadline of the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement by 24 hours, momentum is growing that another extension can be reached to allow the two sides at least a week's worth of serious bargaining over the major issues. 

Federal mediator George Cohen is attempting to broker a 7-10 day extension between the two sides, and there are strong indications that he may get to that point sometime today.

A source familiar with the inner workings of the negotiations told Newsday the 7-10 day extension isn't a done deal just yet - "there are a lot of moving parts," he said - but there appears to have been significant progress toward delaying the doomsday scenario that only yesterday seemed inevitable. 

That doomsday scenario was this: decertification by the union, which would set the stage for antitrust legislation against the league, and a lockout by the NFL, which would effectively shut down the league until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. 

There's still no guarantee that extending the talks will lead to a new CBA, but agreeing to more talks is surely better than the alternative for both sides. After all, the NFL and NFLPA have now met with Cohen 11 straight sessions, which means that they're at least talking. And further discussions are the only way to make more meaningful progress in the days ahead.

And it's not as if extensions to the dealines haven't been made before. After all, when the two sides last agreed on the CBA - in March, 2006 - there were two extensions during the negotiations. It appears as if the stage may be set for a similar scenario, although it's still too soon to tell whether an extension would lead to a permanent resolution. 

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