Negotiators for the National Football League and the NFL Players Association talked by telephone yesterday, but failed to set a date this week for the resumption of contract talks.
Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA, said last night, "I called (management chief negotiator Jack) Donlan and told him we want to get together, preferably in Washington." Donlan reportedly told Garvey he wanted to check with a federal mediator before agreeing to another meeting.
The union has said the talks have not progressed to the point a mediator can help.
Garvey had said he hoped to have negotiating sessions before the union's executive committee meets Monday to vote a strike deadline that would come after the third or fourth game of the season.
"Nothing short of a miracle can stop us from setting a strike deadline. No matter whether we (contract negotiators) meet again or not, whatever happens we will set the date when we meet on Monday," said Garvey.
In Philadelphia, Leonard Tose, owner of the Eagles, urged the players to look carefully at management's latest offer. "We have very little left to give," Tose was quoted by United Press International.
The Associated Press quoted Tose as saying the the union objective of getting 55 percent of gross revenues is "un-American."
"As far as the percentage goes, it's not negotiable and it never will be," said Tose, who is on the seven-member executive committee of the owners' Management Council. "It's totally unacceptable."
Tose, who bought the Eagles in 1969 for more than $16 million, said of the threat to strike, "I think this putting a gun to management's head is not a very useful tactic. I don't believe in cocking the gun until you're going to fire it."
In New York, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said that "as much as the owners don't want a strike, they are not going to accept something they feel they cannot live with for the next five years. If the players believe that they can get what Garvey is asking for, I think they are being misled."