From Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune late last night:
A week after NFL owners wrapped up their annual spring meeting in Indianapolis, a small group of them gathered in a western suburb of Chicago, and reportedly huddled with NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith in advance of Friday's scheduled court hearing.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was spotted Wednesday boarding his private jet at DuPage Airport, a little less than 24 hours after arriving, sources told the Tribune. Also present during a full-day stakeout was the jet belonging to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, an unmistakable Gulfstream model with a star on each side of the tail.
Sources said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also arrived in West Chicago via private jet Tuesday, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was believed to be present, the sources said. The NFL office was unable to provide any details. Airport officials cited a confidentiality policy in declining to reveal information.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News adds that Giants co-owner John Mara attended the meeting as well.
The presence of Kraft, Richardson and Jones suggests that a deal is being discussed. Those three have been at the front of the negotiations during this entire process.
One interesting note from Bedard last night - it's quite possible that Mark Murphy (who is on the owners' Executive Committee) was in attendance as well. Unlike the gentlemen mentioned above, Murphy almost always flies commercial, so he would not have been spotted along with the likes of Kraft and Jones. A message left with the Packers to confirm Murphy's attendance went unreturned.
Fans can only hope this is a sign of real progress toward getting a deal done.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter reports that the owners in attendance were Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft, John Mara, and Art Rooney.
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