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Report: Judge to force mediation with NFL, players

NEW YORK CITY — The judge who will rule on the NFL players’ request to lift the lockout imposed by the owners told both sides she’ll impose forced mediation early this week, according to ESPN.com.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson told the NFL and its players of her intentions, according to the report Sunday night, which cited “sources familiar with the situation.”

Attorneys for both sides held a conference call Friday to discuss mediation with Nelson. The NFL wants to resume negotiations before a federal mediator in Washington, while the players prefer to remain in Nelson’s court.

ESPN.com reported that Nelson said during the one-hour conference call that she would work on a solution over the weekend and announce her decision early this week.