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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

NFL commissioner, union chief appear together in Sarasota



NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith made a joint statement moments ago here at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sarasota, where the two just finished a Q&A session with the league's incoming rookie class.

The two flew here together on a private jet last night from Minneapolis, where they have been hunkered down in talks aimed at ending the NFL's three-months-old lockout. They quickly finished their comments to the media and got back to business.

"Both of us wanted to come out and tell you that we’re continuing to work hard," Smith told reporters. "Both of us felt it was important to come down for this event. Obviously what we’re doing on the business of football on the macro scale is about getting a fair deal done and trying to get back to the game and business of football as quickly as possible. But this event was important to ensure that our young men appreciated how important we think these few days are. I’m thrilled that Roger could come down and talk to the rookies in a very good, direct way."

Goodell did not offer specifics either, but his sentiments were mildly encouraging, too.

"I would just say that it was a great opportunity for us to be able to sit with the rookies," Goodell said. "They obviously had lots of questions. We answered the questions as best we could, but you all know that we’re under restrictions. We took a break because we felt it was important to be down here with the players. We both have great respect for the players and this is an important few days.

"And we’re going to get back to work."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:21am]


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