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One more week for league, union


Buying time to try to close big gaps on big issues, the NFL and the players union agreed Friday to extend the deadline for negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement by a week.

The current labor deal had been set to run out Thursday night. But the sides used an initial 24-hour extension to discuss and vote on the second, lengthier delay. Now the league and union will take a break over the weekend to assess their positions, resume mediation Monday, then have until the end of next Friday to talk.

"We're obviously having a lot of dialogue," commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday, the 11th day that he and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith have spent time at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. "We met for a lot of days. And we are going to meet for more."

The sides have delayed a lockout but are still not close to a new CBA

"It's a challenge," NFL general counsel and lead labor negotiator Jeff Pash said. "We've got very serious issues. We've got significant differences."

Most significant: money.

The Associated Press reported that the union has not agreed to any major economic concessions — and that the NFL has not agreed to the union's demand that the league completely open its books and share all financial information.

Goodell and Pash declined to discuss any details as they spoke outside federal mediator George Cohen's office about 3 p.m., and Smith did the same on a sidewalk in front of the NFLPA's headquarters about three city blocks away.

Referring to next week's round of bargaining, Smith said: "We look forward to a deal coming out of that."

BURRESS FREE EARLIER: Former Giants Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress is to get out of prison in June, after officials agreed to shave about three months off his time in a gun case. A committee of prison-system staffers decided the receiver was eligible for time off for good behavior, so he can be freed after about 21 months of his two-year sentence, system spokeswoman Linda Foglia said. Burress' release is set for June 6.

DRIVE-UP LEADS TO ARREST: Eagles tackle King Dunlap has been charged with reckless driving and disorderly conduct for driving his Cadillac Escalade onto the plaza outside the arena hosting the SEC women's basketball tournament. Nashville police say Dunlap drove his 2004 Escalade onto the sidewalk and parked near the front doors Friday. He told officers he was picking up his father, who uses a wheelchair. Police say they asked Dunlap to move to the nearby street while offering to help with his father. Dunlap refused and was arrested.

MORE JURISPRUDENCE: Authorities say former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith, who played for the team from 1991-97, and two others have been charged with murder in the 2008 beating and shooting death of a 31-year-old man in northern Los Angeles County. A district attorney's spokeswoman said a judge postponed arraignment for Smith, 43, and two other suspects until March 17.

LIONS: Cornerback Nathan Vasher was re-signed to a one-year contract. … Former UCF running back Kevin Smith did not receive a tender offer, likely ending his three-year stint with Detroit.

PACKERS: Super Bowl-winning coach Mike McCarthy signed a three-year extension expected to boost his salary from $4 million per year to around $5 million, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

RAIDERS: The team tendered deals to tight end Zach Miller and running back Michael Bush, keeping the right to match any offers they get if they become restricted free agents.

TITANS: Coach Mike Munchak filled out his coaching staff by hiring Curtis Fuller as assistant secondary coach and Charles London as offensive assistant/quality control.

One more week for league, union 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 11:02pm]
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