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NFL Lockout: Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith Meet Secretly

On the eve of a hearing in front of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, the two major players in the NFL's labor dispute - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the players' trade association head, DeMaurice Smith - reportedly met in secret in Chicago to re-open long-dormant labor talks.

Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft and Jerry Richardson were reportedly present for the meeting on the owners' side, while Smith was joined by Kevin Mawae, Mike Vrabel, Jeff Saturday and others on the players' side of the ball.

No new labor deal is imminent, obviously, but the fact that the two sides were willing to meet without lawyers present is a sign that, at minimum, the two sides recognize that there's still plenty of time for football to be saved, and that dialogue needs to be occurring. ESPN reports that "some progress" was made in the meeting, and that there is a hope that a new deal could be agreed to by the end of June.

We'll see. With the appeals process beginning tomorrow - and expected to last for several weeks - any progress made last night will likely be halted. Still, a small amount of good news is better than no news, right?