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BBAO: Waiting on the inevitable

7/25/2011

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Is today the day? Here's what we know about the inevitable but difficult-to-time end of the NFL lockout: The NFL Players Association executive committee is preparing to meet Monday to sign off on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, beginning a process of formal ratification by players. That action would be enough for owners to lift the lockout, opening the door for free agency to begin and training camps to open later this week.

We'll bring you the exact timing of those events as soon as it is official.

It's been fruitless to predict exactly how and when events would transpire during this endgame, but for the first time players are speaking openly about it. Minnesota Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson said Sunday night that "I think there will be some good news coming out [Monday]."

Whenever the lockout lifts, we'll roll out a back-to-work package for each NFC North team. Stay tuned.

Continuing around the NFC North: