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Labor negotiations continue in Boston area

NFL owners and players met in the Boston area Wednesday in the latest attempt to work out a new collective bargaining agreement, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his labor committee resumed negotiations with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and several players Wednesday. One day earlier, NFL owners were briefed on recent progress about a new CBA.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential.

One NFL player informed The AP that the NFLPA told him progress is being made "but there's still maybe two weeks to go" before a settlement is likely. The player also spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to speak for the players association.

Both sides remained optimistic about reaching an agreement after owners were briefed on many details of a new CBA, and they didn't carry their Chicago meeting into a second day.

The parties are looking to build off existing momentum. Sources told NFL Network's Albert Breer that the owners spent Tuesday's meetings discussing ideas and concepts, rather than specifics, as they hammer out a complex deal with many moving parts. Although no votes were taken nor proposals approved, they avoided potential hiccups that the summit might have produced.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said at those meetings. "It can be done, it's something we have to keep working at. Every day closer hopefully, that's the goal."

The owners' lockout of the players began March 12. Training camps are scheduled to open in late July, and the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday became the first team to change its preseason plans. The Ravenswill train at their facility near Baltimore rather than at McDaniel College in Winchester, Md.

The owners spent five hours Tuesday listening to updates on various CBA issues. Afterward, the league's chief negotiator Jeff Pash said "we're eager to accelerate the pace of the negotiations."

Goodell said ownership is "united and determined to reach an agreement and have a full 2011 season. The ownership has a better understanding of the framework (of a new CBA)."

Several owners were expected to have objections to some of the proposals. Goodell was asked if there was a consensus among owners, to which he replied that "is a little deceiving because we don't have an agreement" with the players.

Both sides sound eager to find common ground rather than return to court. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the league's appeal of a lower-court injunction that originally blocked the lockout. That injunction is on hold, and a ruling could come anytime.

Instead, the owners and players have ramped up their talks, and the meetings in New England are the fourth over the last four weeks. They also met near Chicago, in the New York area and on the Maryland shore.

"You always have incentive," Irsay said of getting a deal done sooner rather than later. "I remember '87, '82. You always have incentive ... but it's a process, and you have to let the process work and keep working through it. But I know it's better when you have labor peace on both sides."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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