NEW YORK — Whether they are meeting in secret locations or in the middle of Times Square at rush hour, talks between NFL owners and players are a good sign.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has been saying that ever since the lockout began on March 12. Players, agents and lawyers familiar with the negotiating process second the notion.
Both sides met Wednesday for a second straight day in New York, with Judge Arthur Boylan joining Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith. It was the second time this week that the sides got together.
Also on hand were five team owners and five players.
Both sides seem ready for productive talks as they await a ruling about the legality of the lockout from the federal appeals court in St. Louis. The factions aren't due back in court until August. On Wednesday, Judge Susan Nelson moved up a hearing for the league's motion to dismiss the players' antitrust suit from Sept. 12 to Aug. 29 — nine days before the regular season is scheduled to begin.
Rookie's arm, smarts impress one receiver
CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton's first practice with the Cincinnati Bengals came on a college field on a hot morning with no helmets, uniforms, pads or complete playbooks.
Not the best way for a rookie quarterback to break into the NFL.
More than 40 Bengals players participated in their first voluntary, full-squad workout Wednesday at the University of Cincinnati, where a handful of students took a few minutes to stop and watch the franchise's next quarterback start to blend in.
With his red hair, he was easy to spot. His arm got some looks, too.
"He's got a good arm," receiver Jerome Simpson said. "He's very smart. I like him."
The second-round pick from TCU has some daunting days ahead. The Bengals are switching to coordinator Jay Gruden's new offense, one that has different terminology. Dalton can't get tutoring from the coaches because of the NFL's lockout. Practice is limited to a few voluntary sessions in shorts and T-shirts.