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Judge assigns homework for parties in slowed talks

MINNEAPOLIS — Negotiators for the NFL and its locked-out players wrapped up a second day of court-ordered talks Friday with no signs of significant progress.

The sides left the federal courthouse in Minneapolis after about four hours of talks, following nine hours of meetings Thursday. They will meet again Tuesday.

Hall of Famer Carl Eller, who is representing retired players in the antitrust lawsuit against the league, said he believes the sides are "moving forward" but the process "slowed a little bit" Friday.

"There is progress, but it wasn't like we're right around the corner," Eller said. "We could resolve it if we had met on the weekend, but maybe not."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who is overseeing the sessions, assigned weekend homework, according to Michael Hausfeld, an attorney for the players.

"The judge has asked us to provide answers to over a half-dozen questions that he's asked," Hausfeld said, declining to provide details. "There's a lot of work."

Boylan is overseeing this round of talks after 16 days of mediated sessions in Washington.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who ordered the mediation, is still considering a request from the players to lift the lockout imposed by the owners. After an April 6 hearing, she said she planned to rule on the injunction request in a couple of weeks, which would mean next week.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, four team owners and several league executives and lawyers left the building without speaking to reporters. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, via e-mail, declined to comment.

DeMaurice Smith, the NFL Players Association executive director, also refused to talk.

Bryant settles one debt: Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who had a suit filed against him for nonpayment of $246,000 worth of jewelry, reached a settlement, ESPN.com reported. Terms were not disclosed. Bryant still faces another lawsuit that claims he owes more than $600,000 for jewelry, tickets, and repayment of loans.

Quitting on Russell: John Lucas, who works with athletes with drug and addiction problems, will no longer serve as former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell's "life coach," Yahoo Sports reported. Lucas had been working to get Russell, released in May, back into shape since September. After some initial success, Russell lost motivation and reportedly ballooned to 294 pounds for a workout, then Lucas gave up on Russell.

Judge assigns homework for parties in slowed talks 04/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 15, 2011 9:23pm]
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