Minneapolis, MN - A second round of mediation, court-ordered this time, between the NFL and players began Thursday.
League commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were among those in attendance, along with DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the decertified NFLPA, and linebacker Mike Vrabel.
The session took place as the sides continue to try to resolve the labor dispute, which centers around how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues, a rookie wage scale, regular season expansion and benefits for retired players.
On Monday, United States district judge Susan Nelson ordered the sides back to mediation, with chief magistrate judge Arthur Boylan serving as mediator for the confidential sessions.
The players are also waiting for Nelson to rule on whether or not to act on their request for an injunction to lift the lockout, which has been in place since March 12.
Nelson suggested to have the hearings in Minnesota, a boon for the players because they believed it was a better option than having talks return to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, DC. Discussions between both sides, under the guidance of federal mediator George Cohen, ended there after 17 days of negotiations on March 11.