National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle intervened in the pro football labor dispute yesterday, bringing negotiators Gene Upshaw and Jack Donlan together for a surprise, 90-minute meeting in New York at which they agreed to resume negotiations today in Philadelphia.

Last night, the Management Council, the owners' negotiating arm, announced that two owners, Dallas Cowboys president Tex Schramm and Pittsburgh Steelers president Dan Rooney, would become part of management's negotiating team. Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, asked Schramm and Rooney to join the talks.

It will be the first time the two negotiating committees have met since Sept. 15.

Earlier on the first day of the NFLPA strike, Upshaw met at a New York hotel for two hours with a person he would only describe as "a mystery man" -- who turned out to be Rozelle." The commissioner, in a telephone interview after the Boston Globe first reported his involvement, then asked Donlan to join them.

"I've kept in touch with both sides throughout {the five months of negotiations}, as I have said," Rozelle said from his home. "Upshaw called last night {Monday} and said he'd like to meet. We met for a couple of hours. I had Jack join us."

Rozelle said that even if there is a quick settlement, it "is very, very unlikely" that games could be played this weekend. He said the television networks need to know by tonight whether there will be games Sunday and he doubted whether either the union or the owners would want to play without a contract in final written form. Upshaw has said a deal could be struck in a day, but it would take two or three days more to work out contract language.

The league's 28 owners are expected to announce today or Thursday that this week's games have been postponed until the end of the season. The owners already have said they will attempt to resume the season on Oct. 4 with replacement players if the strike continues.

The talks have been stalemated over the players' demand for less restrictive free agency, and that is the only roadblock to a settlement, according to the owners. Upshaw has said seven issues are preventing a settlement, and several players said yesterday that pension and severance were more important to them than free agency.

Rozelle said free agency is likely to be one of the first items on the agenda today. "It's the key issue that blocks other issues, so they'll be getting to it {quickly}," he said.

While most of the league's 1,585 players walked out yesterday as the union called the second pro football strike in six seasons, a handful of players crossed picket lines. The league's 28 owners have said they will resume competition with teams made up of players previously released and any desiring to break ranks.

The most prominent players crossing picket lines yesterday were two quarterbacks, Gary Hogeboom of the Indianapolis Colts and Marc Wilson of the Los Angeles Raiders. Both highly paid players said clauses in their contracts required them to do so or risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollar.

Two other prominent players, defensive lineman Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys and Pro Bowl safety Leonard Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals, said they would not honor the strike.

Threats of violence on the picket lines did not materialize, but the replacement players the owners are hoping to use will not report until today. The most physical activity on the Washington Redskins' picket line yesterday was the signing of autographs for the many fans who drove past the team's practice facility in Herndon.

On the management side, clubs continued lining up free agents, rookies cut during training camp and free agents in their attempt to continue the season. The biggest "name" player to commit was former Seattle quarterback Jim Zorn, who will rejoin the Seahawks.

The Redskins said they have reached verbal agreement with about 55 players, including cornerback and kick returner Rod Hill, the Cowboys' first-round draft choice in 1982, and former Tennessee quarterback Tony Robinson.

Yesterday's meeting between Upshaw and Donlan was shrouded in mystery. Upshaw mentioned the so-called mystery man for the first time Monday night when he announced the strike on national television, saying this individual could bring the walkout to a quick end. Neither the Management Council nor the union would divulge the identity of the mystery man, details of either meeting or the site of today's negotiations.

Philadelphia was picked as a neutral site, sources said, because it is about halfway between New York, headquarters of the Management Council, and Washington, where the NFLPA is located.

If, indeed, free agency is the major issue, the addition of Schramm and Rooney is not likely to change management's commitment to keeping the current system of compensation and right of first refusal. "The feeling was the message would change with the messenger," said John Jones, a spokesman for the Management Council. "Gene believes that there is some number in the book that he can dial that will give him free agency. That number doesn't exist."

Neither Donlan nor Upshaw was available for comment last night.

In another development, the union filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, protesting $1,000 bonus payments to dissident players and guarantees of 1988 roster spots. The charges singled out the Patriots for trading Brian Holloway because of union activities. Last week, the Management Council filed an unfair labor charge against the union, saying it did not bargain in good faith.

Despite the apparent solidarity as the strike begins, some current and former player representatives were grumbling. "If Upshaw can't get it resolved in a hurry, we want someone else who can," said New England's Ron Wooten, a former assistant player representative. "Gene's not getting paid just to paint the offices in Washington."

Wilson and Hogeboom were the biggest name players to enter practice facilities yesterday. New York Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau said Monday night he would not honor the strike.

Wilson, who is being paid $1 million a year, said he had been instructed to cross the picket line by his agent, Howard Slusher. "It was agonizing," said Wilson, who lost his starting job this season.

"Before I came here, I went over to where the players are meeting this morning . . . I'm in a very unique situation. I've got to be here or risk breaching the contract."

Hogeboom said he was in jeopardy of losing $1.5 million of a $6 million annuity.

Staff writer David Aldridge in New York contributed to this report.