NFL players agree to federal mediation

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

Washington - Both sides in the NFL labor dispute agreed to federal mediation Thursday, with the players saying they embraced a judge's idea to hold negotiations in a Minnesota court.

Later, the NFL proposed negotiations in Washington under George Cohen, the federal mediator who oversaw several weeks of discussions before the players decertified their union to file a lawsuit and the owners began the lockout.

"The goal of the discussions would be to resolve all outstanding issues and achieve a global resolution," the NFL's statement said.

The NFL assured players that further mediation would not compromise their legal position, a concern raised earlier Thursday in a letter written by the players' lead attorney to the Minnesota federal judge overseeing their antitrust lawsuit against the league.

The developments came one day after Judge Susan Richard Nelson made her recommendation that the sides resume federal mediation. Nelson also said Wednesday that she would need several weeks to rule on whether or not to grant an injunction in favor of the players to lift the NFL lockout.

The players said they were prepared to begin mediation immediately, although it remains unclear how realistic that is given that the sides disagree on where the talks should be held.

"Though the injunction to lift the owners' lockout remains under Judge Nelson's consideration, the players took to heart her advice ... that the two sides should not delay to meet," the players said in a statement.

The players' announcement was not surprising. Jim Quinn, acting as outside counsel for the players, said Wednesday they would consider returning to mediation.

"Any way to get the players back on the field," he said.


Videos

Photos