Full Timeout


knocking. The only gun I had ever fired was skeet shooting. And I never hit one of those clay thingies either. Not a one. And I'm thinking, gosh I hope nobody comes through that door. Not sure what I would have done, so thank God for the five-pound dog we named "Rat" who began to bark and growl as if a 900-pound bear. My prowlers went away.

Who knows, might have been my 34-year extension to date.

Yeah, in these types of negotiations, you can figuratively shake your fists and raise that hammer, but come on, do you really want to declare war, and that's what would have happened on Friday if the NFL decided to lock out or the NFLPA decided to decertify.

So that gives us hope … at least seven days of hope before the next deadline arises next Friday or until, like in March of 2006, another extension is exercised. To me, and who knows, I might be redacting this statement for those reading in years to come - or next week - these men who have been smart enough to make all this money and shepherd this game to these new heights then have to be too smart to fire that first salvo over the bow. It's not like we're talking here steel workers and factory owners in the '60s.

That is why everyone on Friday seemed to holster their fists, the first good sign. The second, the NFL's general counsel Jeff Pash later said, "I wouldn't be surprised if the owners are here next week," which was the case five years ago out at DFW so a consensus decision could immediately be made.

The next good thing, Goodell saying, "The fact we're continuing this dialogue is a positive sign."

And finally that Smith said, "There's a commitment from both sides to engage in another round of negotiations at the request of the mediation service. We look forward to a deal coming out of that. What we have always had is our core, is the football our players love to play and that our fans love to watch it. There's never going to be a day where we're not going to have those two first and foremost in our minds."

Now for the next week the NFL is basically being put on ice, resting sort of in purgatory while these negotiations/mediations continue to take place, and for all involved, hopefully in earnest and in continued anonymity as has mostly happened over the past 11 days of mediation. Public proclamations and shows of power or whining won't accomplish a thing.

And just remember, when push comes to shove - or another self-imposed deadline arises - neither side really wants to kill that golden goose. Because as an exhausted Jerry Jones said on March 8, 2006, when he headed to the elevator after the owners, and much to their chagrin even back then, had agreed to extend the CBA they eventually would opt out of two years later, and understand that option was written into the agreement for both sides, "We couldn't walk out of this building if we didn't have a deal. I would have hung my head."

Or as I wrote back then, and maybe even the league, which still applies today.

(To be continued)

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