Posted by Will Brinson
The NFL and NFLPA vowed to meet in Washington, D.C. and mediate their differences for seven days. They've done just that and have now adjourned from the final day of negotiations with plans to resume the talks on Tuesday.
"Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance," Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen said in a statement. "I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions."
Cohen added that "some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties."
Which is to say, all the problems involving the labor talks and impending lockout weren't solved.
But we knew that would happen -- and it confirms the report from CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman earlier Thursday that a lockout is still looming in full force.
Cohen's asked the two parties to "assess their current position on those outstanding issues" over the weekend in order to properly revisit them when the mediation resumes next week.
That probably won't be too difficult, as both sides are completely aware of where they stand with respect to the biggest issues.
Realizing where they stand isn't the hard part -- it's finding a middle ground. And while both parties are obviously at least attempting to find a method for that, there's not too much hope that can be gleaned from the first run at mediation.
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