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After leaving negotiations, Eller headed to a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"They want to get these games going, and they want to have a season. That's their focus," Eller said. "Our issues are very, very critical -- very important -- but they don't really have much to do with whether the game goes on or not."
He said "there's still a lot more to be done" when it comes to benefits for former players, but that could be resolved after the main issues are settled.
A proposal under consideration would set up nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years in additional benefits for retired players. That would include $620 million in pension increases, long-term care insurance and disability programs.
Retired players complained to the court in Minnesota recently that they had been excluded from negotiations, making Eller's presence Tuesday significant.
"We weren't happy, and we hope it doesn't go back to that. We hope we stay active in the talks and we hope we continue to have meaningful talks. This clearly lets us know there's more work to be done," Eller said. "It's certainly something we want to keep going and continue the dialogue, continue to work until we have some kind of a solution."
Lawyers for the NFL and the players suing the league submitted a joint filing to the court Tuesday, asking for an extra week to file written arguments "to allow them to focus on the continuing mediation." The request, which was granted in the afternoon, noted that "the parties have also been meeting regularly since April 11, 2011, in an effort to resolve their disputes."
The country's most popular professional sports league has been in limbo since the old collective bargaining agreement expired March 11. The lockout began hours later.
The lockout has resulted in pay cuts for non-playing employees around the league, and economic hardship for cities, like Cortland, N.Y., that hosted training camps in the past but won't this year. On Tuesday, the lower-level UFL -- which had been hoping to start its season in the void created by a lack of NFL preseason games -- announced it is delaying its season start to mid-September, a blow for a league that has lost $100 million in only two years.
The NFL's regular-season opener is scheduled for Sept. 8, when the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers are to host the New Orleans Saints.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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