League, players agree to extend negotiations

Peyton Manning (AP/Marco Garcia)

The NFL and the players association agree to continue negotiating for 24 more hours, giving hope on a new collective bargaining agreement. But the players are prepared to decertify and already have their lead plaintiffs in place in the event of an antitrust lawsuit against the league.

UPDATE: The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to extend their negotiating window by 24 hours, giving hope they might be able to reach an accord on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The current CBA would have expired at 12 midnight ET Thursday, resulting in a lockout by players and a possible decertification by the union. It's uncertain how an extension will affect the new league year, which was set to begin Friday.

President Obama has no intention of getting involved in the NFL's current labor dispute, but four prominent players are apparently willing to step into the mess as lead plaintiffs should the players association decertify and an antitrust lawsuit against the league result.

Several sources, including ESPN and NFL.com, report that quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, who have five Super Bowl victories among them, would be lead plaintiffs for the players. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted that guard Logan Mankins of the New England Patriots has also agreed to be a plaintiff.

ESPN also reported that the owners offered an improved proposal to the players, although it's certain exactly what the proposal was or how it was received. And there was a report by SI.com that the two sides discussed extending the negotiating deadline by a week or two beyond the midnight deadline.

The two sides are talking in Washington D.C. in front of federal mediator George Cohen. It's their 10th session in an effort to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.

They certainly won't get help from the president.

Here's what Obama said when asked about the labor impasse: "You've got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You've got players who are making millions of dollars. People are having to cut back, compromise and worry about making mortgage (payments). … The two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States intervening. …

"(F)or an industry that's making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way."

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