League, union hold positive talks on proposed 18-game season

The NFL and the NFL Players Association met intensively Monday in New York, and collective bargaining negotiations might be starting to accelerate, a source with knowledge of the talks said Wednesday.

Present at the meeting were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. Other attendees included Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, NFLPA executive committee member Domonique Foxworth, player advocate Ernie Conwell and player representative Pete Kendall.

The league and the union confirmed that they met Monday, but both declined further comment.

The source said the focus of the discussions was the 18-game regular season and two-game preseason proposed by the league and the union's counter-proposal for what it wants as part of an 18-2 season. Discussions centered on the players' strong desire to have substantially less offseason football activity and less overall contact in practices throughout the year. The players want a limitation on OTAs and reduced contact in other non-game settings.

The goal of both sides is to offset increased exposure to injury in an 18-2 season, with decreased exposure during non-game activities.

According to the source, the players' negotiating team came off as reasonable, thoughtful and progressive in its approach.

The source said a great deal of progress must be made before the sides are close to an agreement, but the pace of the negotiations could be accelerating. There's no word on when the next talks will be held.

NFL owners opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2008, and it expires on March 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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