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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Lockout'11: Bears' London trip seems likely

By Kevin Seifert

The exact day of approval for the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), be it Thursday or Friday or next week -- is largely irrelevant for most of us. But it's worth pointing out the timing is critical for the schedule of one NFC North team.

We've been discussing the moving target of the Chicago Bears' training camp start, as well as their preseason schedule. Don't forget, however, that their Oct. 23 game in London against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is facing a looming deadline.

As we originally noted in April, the NFL announced its labor dispute must be resolved by Aug. 1 in order for the game to be played as scheduled. Otherwise, it would be moved to the Bucs' Raymond James Stadium.

That gives the sides nearly two weeks to resolve any issues that might arise during negotiations this week. To the extent that we can handicap such things, it seems the Bears have a reasonable chance of making the Transatlantic trip. That might come as a disappointment to some players -- linebacker Brian Urlacher said last month that "I'm not excited to go to London" -- but such is life.