I hesitate to say I am confident about the fact that the players and owners are talking, but it sure does feel good that they are doing so in a courtroom in front of a federal judge who is mediating those talks. What that does is get both sides to stop playing games (well, for the most part) and try to speed up finding a solution to the labor woes:
Mediation resumes in NFL, players dispute - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
Sworn to secrecy about specifics of the court-ordered mediation, neither the league nor the players provided much insight about where they’re at in their dispute over the division of this $9 billion business. They were set to meet again Friday morning. Commissioner Roger Goodell, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft were among those on hand for the closed-door session Thursday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.
I think the commissioner is really trying his best, and reiterated that to a group of 5300 Cleveland Browns' fans on a conference call Thursday. Goodell also talked about the schedule being released soon, which is a day in the spring we football fans usually look forward to, but not so much this year unless a deal is struck and we know there will be actual games with real NFL players. (Personally, I get the willies when I hear "replacement" player). Oh, and it struck me that Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson is taking part in the negotiations. Whew, the judge must love that guy, huh? He's the life of the party in a crusty old man sort of way.
NY Giants owner takes first seat on jury at trial - WSJ.com
New York Giants owner John Mara has gone from alternate to the first seat on a jury at an international drug trial in federal court in Manhattan. Mara became Juror No. 1 on Thursday in the second week of a major international drug case. He was elevated after another juror got sick from possible food poisoning. It was unclear if Mara might become jury foreman later.
Funny that jurors are mysteriously getting "food poisoning" and things like that, and suddenly Mara goes from being a third alternate to Juror No. 1. He also will likely take over the foreman role, if anything because he wants to help get this case wrapped up before the draft in two weeks. Mara is already missing the mediation sessions in Minneapolis right now.
And finally, here is a fan perspective on the Top 5 best "steals" in Giants' draft history. I know many of you will find names missing from here, but then again it could easily be a Top 20. I know we could make a case for Ahmad Bradshaw, or maybe he needs to put a few more solid seasons together, stay injury-free, and stop fumbling the ball. I think I just talked myself out of it right there, but the guy was a 7th round pick. Anyway, what do you all think?
Meanwhile, I raise my coffee cup to you all and bid you an excellent weekend....