Just when an NFL lockout seemed inevitable, the owners and the players have agreed to federal mediation. According to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the two sides will meet on Friday in Washington, D.C.
They will meet with George Cohen, the agency's director, in an effort to come to a resolution over the collective bargaining agreement that will expire on Mar. 4. Both sides confirmed that the FMCS will become part of the negotiations.
The mediation is non-binding, but it's still a huge step in talks that have become increasingly contentious. Earlier this week, the owners filed a claim that the players were negotiating in bad faith after the owners canceled meetings. Media reports also surfaced saying that Carolina owner Jerry Richardson had been condescending and unmovable in talks.
Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Tuesday that the time had come to make deal. Allowing mediators in the room to diffuse tensions and offer solutions is a serious step in that direction, and gives hope that a lockout can be avoided.
Follow Grizzly Detail on Twitter for more labor discussion (and other fun stuff, too.)