Federally mediated negotiations toward a new NFL labor deal lasted about eight hours Sunday, the third consecutive day the league and its players' union met to try to find common ground before the current contract expires at the end of the day March 3.
Sunday was the third consecutive — and, so far, longest — day of face-to-face communication after months of slow and sometimes contentious bargaining. Because both sides agreed to a request by the mediator that they not comment publicly on these negotiations, it's not clear what, if any, progress is being made.
The biggest issue separating the sides is how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues. Among the other significant points in negotiations: the owners' push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games; a rookie wage scale; and benefits for retired players.
The union has said it believes team owners want to lock out the players as soon as March 4, which could threaten the 2011 season. (AP)
Former NFL safety Duerson's brain donated to research • The family of former NFL safety Dave Duerson has agreed to donate his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine for research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition linked to athletes who have sustained repeated concussions.
Duerson, whose 11-year career ended in 1993 and included stints with the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals, died Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. The Miami-Dade medical examiner ruled the death a suicide and confirmed a gun was used. (AP)
Wozniacki wins Dubai Championships title • No 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki earned her first singles title of 2011 by beating 16th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 in the Dubai Championships in United Arab Emirates. Wozniacki, who will retake the No. 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters today, was never seriously threatened by the 23rd-ranked Kuznetsova, who still moves up to 11th in the rankings. (AP)
Roddick bests Raonic in Regions Morgan Keegan Championships final • Top-seeded Andy Roddick won the 30th title of his career in his 50th final by defeating Milos Raonic 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11), 7-5 in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Tenn. (AP)
Soderling takes Open 13 title • Top-seeded Robin Soderling beat Marin Cilic 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Open 13 in Marseille, France, for his ninth career title. (AP)
Reutter No. 1 as World Cup speedskating season wraps up • Katherine Reutter finished the World Cup short track speedskating season ranked No. 1 overall and took the titles at the 1,000- and 1,500-meter distances after the final competition in Dresden, Germany. A native of Champaign, Ill., who trained in St. Louis, Reutter became the first U.S. woman to win a short track World Cup season title. (Kathleen Nelson)
In other news • Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley criticized the hype surrounding high school prospects, saying players are a mess by the time they reach a college program. ... Tony Martin of Germany won the Tour of the Algarve in Portimao, Portugal, with a strong sprint in the final stage. Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain finished fourth. ... Kevin Van Dam of Kalamazoo, Mich., won the Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana delta, finishing with a Classic-record three-day total catch of 69 pounds, 11 ounces. ... Frenchman Teddy Tamgho broke his own indoor triple jump world record, leaping 58 feet, 91/4 inches at the French indoor championships in Aubiere to better the old mark by one centimeter. (AP)