The NFL and its players are still hard at work negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the lockout, but signs are popping up all over the place the end is near and we will have football soon.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has been intricately involved in the negotiations, has apparently given the go ahead to start making plans for training camp to open July 29. A city official in San Antonio told the San Antonio Express-News that the Cowboys have put together a schedule and are set to begin practicing at the Alamodome at the end of the month.
Chris Russell, who is part of the Washington Redskins network and works for ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. Tweeted that sources inside the organization told him they are confident a deal will get done soon and that there will be no football lost. He was also told the Redskins coaching staff is slated to return to work Monday in preparation for training camp.
The Hall of Fame has also said that it is planning to host the first preseason game on Aug. 7, pitting the Chicago Bears against the St. Louis Rams in Canton, Ohio.
But according to the rules of the lockout, no plans can be finalized until a deal is completed and signed off on by all parties. The lawyers for both sides have been meeting since Tuesday and commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and other principles are scheduled to begin negotiating again Thursday.
A target range of around mid-July to get a deal done has been widely suggested as a reasonable enough time to get the season started on time. Key issues are free agency and if there is time for any type of mini camps to integrate the rookies prior to training camps opening later this month.
There are still quite a few hurdles to clear before the business of football can end the shutdown that began nearly four months ago, but you have to figure the $800 million in lost revenue if there is no preseason football is plenty of incentive to get something done soon.
(Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)