BBAO: Prospects of Hall of Fame game

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
6:55
AM ET
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Welcome back from what will probably be the NFL's last dark weekend for the next six months. Owners and players are hoping to reach a handshake agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement within the next 48 hours, providing time for owners to ratify it during a meeting Thursday in Atlanta. The lockout would then be lifted and a process for opening the free-agent market would be established.

Around here, the big question remains whether the Chicago Bears would open training camp Friday under that scenario. If they do, it would be with a skeleton roster. Their draft picks couldn't possibly be signed and in uniform by then. They would have just started signing the undrafted rookies who fill out camp rosters, and they wouldn't have had the opportunity yet to sign any veteran free agents.

So would the NFL have the Bears open training camp under that scenario just to preserve their Aug. 7 preseason opener? Would they delay the start of camp and simply shorten preparation time for the Hall of Fame game? Or would they cancel the game, instruct the Bears to report the following weekend with the rest of the NFL and have them play a four-week preseason game?

The latter scenario seems more likely. Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times reported over the weekend that the league has already informed affected parties that the game won't be played, but the NFL has not confirmed its cancellation yet. Regardless, the lockout could be days away from ending.

Continuing around the NFC North:

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/4
Sunday, 9/7
Monday, 9/8