UPDATE 2:30PM ET - The players and owners have released a brief joint statement which reads,
The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.
According to Judy Battista, the meetings actually commenced earlier in the week and that while Judge Boylan was present, he did not preside over the negotiations. Plus, the nature of the meetings were so secretive that several NFL owners were not made aware of them until after they had already begun.
UPDATE 12:00PM ET - Rick Maske of the Washington Post is reporting that mediator Arthur Boylan has been present at the negotiations, or at least that he was yesterday
UPDATE 11:50AM ET - Judy Battista has tweeted that the meeting has not adjourned and the two sides are still in talks
UPDATE 11:15AM ET - According to Adam Schefter, the meeting was in fact lawyer-free, with the exception of De Smith. Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft, John Mara, and Art Rooney represented ownership, while Smith, Kevin Mawae, Mike Vrabel, Jeff Saturday and others were there on behalf of the players. And as Florio points out, the absence of Jeff Pash, Bob Batterman, Jim Quinn, and Jeff Kessler can only mean good things...
Original post 11AM ET - The earlier report from ESPN that a select few owners met in a Chicago suburb last night to discuss the lockout has turned out to be incomplete. Rather, it was a negotiating session at which several members of the NFLPA leadership including DeMaurice Smith were present. It doesn't appear there was much in the way of progress, but obviously the fact that the two sides agreed to meet without being ordered to do so is at least somewhat encouraging.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the arguments before the Eighth Circuit for the owners' appeal of the lockout injunction in St. Louis, and as Doug Farrar points out, it's not exactly a foregone conclusion that the court will rule in the owners' favor. Meanwhile, Mike Florio is hoping to learn that the two sides' lawyers were not in attendance last night.