PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – After seven straight days of talking with a federal mediator, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and union executive director DeMaurice Smith refuse to reveal where things stand in negotiating a new CBA.

Following 40 hours of meetings, federal mediator George Cohen said “very strong differences remain on the all important core issues that separate the parties. But some progress was made.”

Cohen did not go into detail about where progress was made or what differences remain.

Since negotiations started, the biggest sticking point has been how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues, including what cut the 32 team owners should get up front to help cover certain costs, such as stadium construction.

The owners would like to install a rookie wage scale and expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games.

The leagues’ lead negotiator, Jeff Pash spoke after the meetings and said if progress is being made then the CBA deadline could be extended.

The union continues to think the owners will move to lock out players come March 4. If there is a lockout, the owners think the union will decertify, allowing them to file an antitrust lawsuit.

Fans, players and owners will know something substantive soon enough, come next Friday, if not sooner.

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