NFL Lockout Watch, Day 130: New CBA Will Be Explained To Teams After It's Ratified
The NFL yesterday sent a memo to all teams "in anticipation of a new deal ... informing them that the rules of the new CBA will be explained in a seminar that will start 90 minutes after it is ratified," according to a source cited by Greg Bedard of the BOSTON GLOBE. The owners' meetings, which begins Thursday in Atlanta and "will include up to four members of a team's personnel staff, will conclude Friday" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/19). In N.Y., Judy Battista reports it is "unclear when players would be allowed to begin reporting to teams, but teams would most likely have a few days to study the new rules" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/19). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio cited a source as saying that the Packers are "telling players that the doors will open on Friday, and that the team wants the players in town in order to get started on preparations for training camp and the preseason" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/18). Panthers TE Jeremy Shockey told blog Busted Coverage that he has been "told to report to a minicamp this weekend." Shockey: "The deal will be done Thursday, and we're being told to report to Charlotte for a three-day camp the 22nd through 25th" (N.Y. POST, 7/19).
MAKING A SCHEDULE: In DC, Mark Maske reports if a new CBA is approved, free agency "likely would begin next week." Hundreds of players "are eligible for free agency," and there are "tentative plans for teams to be given a three-day window to try to re-sign their own free agents before those players would be eligible to sign with other clubs." It is "not clear if the opening of training camps would be pushed back." The Rams and Bears are scheduled to play in the Aug. 7 Pro Football HOF Game and are "scheduled to be at their training camps this weekend" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/19). Chicago Tribune reporter Brad Biggs noted free agency typically starts "at 12:01 east coast time, the middle of the night." Biggs: "Why not start free agency at, I don’t know, noon one day? ... You’d have NFL Network doing their thing, you’d have ESPN, just have these live shows and agents going bonkers, deals getting reported. That would make sense to me” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 7/18).
RUSHING TO GET ON THE FIELD: In Chicago, David Haugh writes, "I don't know anybody in Chicago who, a year from now, will remember what happened in the first weekend of August 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Unless something bad happens to a Bears player in a game that should be cancelled immediately." The "only people who possibly could get valuable experience out of this game would be the trainers." Haugh: "Call it off now, Commissioner Goodell. ... The reward of preserving a full NFL exhibition schedule to make a nationally televised, business-as-usual PR statement on NBC isn't worth the risk of injury for players who need every possible practice to get back into football shape" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/19).
REFS READY FOR KICKOFF: FOXSPORTS.com's Mike Pereira reports the 121 NFL officials are "prepared and ready to go." The officials Sunday "completed a three-day clinic in Dallas, where -- among other things -- they were weighed, had their body fat and waist circumference measured and their body mass calculated." The officials "have been assigned training camps to attend and have gotten their preseason game assignments" (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/19).