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League, union to formally negotiate on CBA

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  January 31, 2011 05:34 PM

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DALLAS - The NFL and the players' union issued a joint statement a few minutes ago pledging formal negotiations aimed at getting a new collective bargaining agreement in place by March 4.

The statement:

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell met today in New York to discuss a range of issues related to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. As part of a process to intensify negotiations, they agreed to hold a formal bargaining session with both negotiating teams on Saturday in the Dallas area. They also agreed to a series of meetings over the next few weeks, both formal bargaining sessions and smaller group meetings, in an effort to reach a new agreement by early March.

This is obviously good news, although it remains to be seen how much work is really done. Both sides are trying to put a good face on the situation during the biggest week of the NFL year.

It also remains to be seen what rhetoric will be later in the week when each side states their case before the media, and how that affects Saturday's session.

Jeff Pash, the league's chief negotiator, has a press conference on Wednesday. Smith will speak on Thursday. And Goodell has his state of the league speech on Friday.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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