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NFL Lockout 2011: A Deal Coming Into View?

Could an end to the 2011 NFL Lockout really be just days away. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, one of the reporters who has been clued in to what has been going on with the labor dispute from the beginning, thinks so.

... the two sides are closer to an agreement than many people realize – perhaps than even some of the people involved realize. That the respective negotiating teams hung in amid the negativity and held a marathon session Thursday and a shorter one on Friday was a deceptively positive sign.

Silver goes on to delve much deeper into the issues at hand, including the possibility that the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game could be impacted if the sides go too long with a deal.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network acknowledged that time is running short to avoid impacting the preseason.

... there clearly is a deal to be done between these parties, because if there wasn't, then reasons to continue talking after five weeks would have dwindled. Second, that hardly means that deal will be done in time to beat the clock on saving the preseason, which means the parties remain in a very precarious spot with plenty of work left to be done.

The negotiations continued Tuesday morning in Manhattan. Legal teams and staff from each party are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. They will be joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, Boylan, owners and players Thursday and Friday.

And it appears that now, finally, the parties locked in a battle that has produced a fourth-month-old lockout are arriving at the 11th hour.

The reason why lies in the money that would be lost with the cancellation of the preseason. The owners project the number to be close to $1 billion. The players say that number is inflated. Either way, no preseason means a significant chunk will be taken out of the revenue pie, which the owners and players have proven unable to divvy up throughout this whole process.

So, it appears there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel. NFL fans likely care about only one thing -- getting the season started on time. Right now, it looks like that has a good chance of happening.