NEW YORK – Attorneys for the NFL Players Association and the league are hopeful they're nearing the goal line of the four-month lockout.
Both parties are meeting on Monday at a Manhattan law firm to try and finalize an agreement to get NFL players back on the field.
The court-appointed mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, is expected to arrive in New York later Monday to oversee talks aimed at ending the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.
The owners have a special meeting set for Thursday in Atlanta, where they potentially could ratify a new deal -- if one is reached by then. Any agreement also must be voted on by groups of players, including the named plaintiffs in a federal antitrust suit against the league, and the NFLPA's 32 team representatives.
Resolution of the proposed deal could open in training camps on time, meaning no delay to the start of the 2011 season and no loss of tickets for season-ticket holders. The first scheduled preseason game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams is Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.