Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has been a part of the closed-door meetings between the NFL and its locked-out players over the last two weeks – including a day of discussions at a hotel on Long Island on Wednesday – said today that the sides are getting closer to ending the lockout … especially with the lawyers out of the picture.
“I think we’re getting close to having to put this thing to bed so we don’t miss any events,” Kraft said. “I know that’s the intent on both sides. It would be misleading to say anything that would not make it crystal clear that there’s still a lot of hard work to be done. But the good news is we’re talking, and I think we went 34 days without having communications. The lawyers on each side were doing stuff. That, to me, isn’t progress.”
Kraft, who spoke to reporters in Foxborough on Thursday, noted that there is still plenty of work to be done. But overall, he was very positive about the meetings.
“I think we’ve been fortunate that we’ve had two rounds of talks,” he said, as reported here by the Boston Herald. “Any time principals are talking in any deal that’s complicated or has potential problems, that’s a big plus. I’m happy that we’re talking principal-to-principal.”
The talks may be even more principal than expected. The New York Post reported today that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith dined together in Manhattan on Wednesday night.
“The fact we’re continuing to talk is a very positive sign,” he said. ”We’re making progress. But there’s a lot of work to be done. This is a very hard deal with all the different variables. In the end, the fact that principals who are going to be sitting down 5-10 years from now are sitting down and talking about the problems is a positive thing, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done. The good news is, we’re talking.”