NFL Labor Talks No Longer Overtly Rosy

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 3: Executive Director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) DeMaurice Smith leaves the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Federal Courthouse after the NFL lockout hearing on June 3, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. NFL players and the league met in court today for a federal appeals hearing on the legality of the three-month-old lockout. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

For a period of several weeks, the majority of reports and articles written on the topic of the NFL lockout were optimistic. Yes, those pieces were rife with caution, but the tone was very obviously upbeat, almost universally so. It got to the point earlier this week where PFT's Mike Florio used the words "final push to complete the deal" in a headline, and brought up an earlier prediction that there'd be a new CBA by June 30.

That date has obviously come and gone, and as we hit July - with training camps set to open in three or four weeks' time - negotiations have reportedly taken a nosedive in recent days.

If you care to stomach the insane neurosis of a negotiation process of this magnitude, you'll want to read this report from Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports. In it, he tells tales of the negative influence of lawyers, the loss of very tenuous trust the two sides had recently developed, and goes over the intricacies of the largest remaining hurdle: the revenue split.

I prefer to remain optimistic about the whole ordeal, so I'm clinging to two things this morning: the report that Roger Goodell "screamed" at owners after details of the negotiations were leaked to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, and the fact that Judge Arthur Boylan appears to have recently gained some more authority over the process. There is still time. It's just dwindling quickly.

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