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NFL Lockout: Deadline Is Tonight At Midnight

Owners and players will meet Thursday for a last time before a possible NFL lockout occurs at the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement, but don't expect no news to be good news—reports have emerged that Roger Goodell has mandated media silence for both sides of this long-brewing labor dispute ahead of the midnight deadline. 

Wednesday was a day of negotiations marked by very cautious optimism, allowing for today's meeting, but a deal still seems far away; some are suggesting that the best possible outcome at this point is for both sides to agree to an extension of the deadline, which would mean, at least, that each side imagines the possibility of forward momentum in these glacial talks.

Both sides have their nuclear options at the ready; the owners are prepared to initiate a lockout and there have been suggestions that the NFLPA might consider decertification if the rest of its options are exhausted. Either option carries with it a threat of engendering public anger over the proceedings, which is the last thing the NFL and the NFLPA wants to see.