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NFL-player talks moving forward; more meetings planned

The NFL and players wrapped up another two-day round of talks on Maryland's Eastern Shore on Wednesday, with more talks expected in the near future.

This is the third in a series of clandestine sessions that started with a three-day meeting two weeks ago in suburban Chicago, and continued with a two-day meeting on Long Island, N.Y. last week. According to sources, the talks remain productive and are moving forward, though a resolution to the three-month-old lockout is not on the immediate horizon.

Both sides have evaluated and strongly considered the concessions and compromises that could ultimately lead to the problem being solved, though, and sources indicated an agreement could come within a month.

The sides released a joint statement Wednesday reiterating their vow of silence to the media.

First would come a free agency period, including the signing of undrafted rookies, and probably minicamps, which already have been canceled by the lockout that began March 12.

The lockout also has cost the league and some teams advertising and sponsorship money, and some players have not collected workout bonuses. At least seven teams have instituted pay cuts or furloughs of employees who are not players.

The Maryland talks were held at an undisclosed location, with larger groups than had been part of the first two waves of meetings. The legal teams for the sides -- NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and outside counsel Bob Batterman, and NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn -- were a part of these sessions.

Also, there was NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants owner John Mara, Chargers owner Dean Spanos, and active players Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson, Jeff Saturday and Brian Waters. All but Waters have taken part in these sessions over the last two weeks.

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