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But don't get too excited about the recent talks.
"I don't think having the meetings is necessarily a sign for optimism," Dogra said. "But the fact both sides are meeting and will continue to meet in undisclosed locations, and that ownership is present, is a good sign that both parties are continuing to talk through the issues."
Added Don Yee, agent for Tom Brady and an adjunct law professor at Southern Cal: "I think it is far too early for optimism. Generally, nothing in the sports business happens until the very last minute, and we're nowhere close to that yet."
Still, the timing is crucial. Although June usually is a slow month in the NFL, teams already would have signed free agents and some rookies; held mini-camps and offseason training activities; and laid out plans for a full training camp beginning at the end of July.
But other than conducting the draft in late April, the NFL has been dormant.
"I'm still optimistic we're going to have 16 games," said Bengals guard Bobbie Williams, an alternate player representative. "July is not here yet, and June just started. We still have time here to get this thing done. Now when July starts running out, then it's a different ballgame. Come ask me again."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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