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Owner Division Key NFL Obstacle

AP Photo

As the longest work stoppage in NFL history reached the 100-day marker on Thursday, there were significant signals coming out of suburban Boston that the lockout could be reaching its final days.

The reports that have leaked out of the ongoing contract talks between the owners and players are sounding as favorable as we've heard in the last few months. Instead of the angry saber rattling that characterized the early days of this lockout, the gloom and doom has been replaced with upbeat phrases like "heading in the right direction" and "very fruitful" and the all-important "close."

Sometimes it's dangerous to characterize the progress (or lack thereof) of ongoing negotiations. But from all the most knowledgeable conversations we've heard, a real breakthrough has happened...

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