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NFL, union extend deadline to solve differences

By Howard Fendrich

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 4 2011 6:20 p.m. MST

— How to divide revenues, including what cut team owners should get up front to help cover costs such as stadium construction and improvement. Under the old deal, owners received about $1 billion off the top. They entered these negotiations seeking to add another $1 billion to that.

— A rookie wage scale, and where money saved by teams under that system would go.

— The owners' push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games.

— Benefits for retired players.

Under terms of the seven-day extension, no player transactions will be allowed while it is in effect, and players' health insurance coverage will remain in place.

"There's been enough serious discussion to warrant both sides taking this step," Pash said after the extension was announced. He also said he wouldn't be surprised if team owners participated in mediation next week, a step that could indicate discussions were reaching a critical stage.

"It's time for us really to dig — to dig deep — and try to find solutions," Pash added, "and try to be creative and try to compromise in a way that will work for everybody."

Goodell dismissed the notion that the NFL became more willing to negotiate after Tuesday's decision by U.S. District Court judge David Doty that sided with the union in a case about whether the league can have access to about $4 billion from TV contracts. The union accused the NFL of improperly negotiating deals to have money available in event of a lockout, and Doty — who has jurisdiction over NFL labor matters under the old CBA — agreed.

Asked whether there is any truth to the idea that Doty's decision got the league back to the table, Goodell said: "No. We've been at the table."

And they'll be there next week.

Noted Goodell: "The fact that we're continuing this dialogue is a positive sign."

AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writer Joseph White in Washington, and Sports Writer Dave Skretta in New York contributed to this story.

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