In this topsy-turvy post-lockout world, we have all assumed that the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would be formally ratified by Thursday. In turn, all players who agreed to new contracts since last Monday would finally be allowed to begin practicing.
While there has been no formal announcement, it is by far a done deal that those players will be on the field Thursday -- especially for teams that have morning practices. Wednesday evening, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told The NFL Network that free agents might not be eligible to practice Thursday. As a result the Minnesota Vikings have pushed their main practice to a 4 p.m. ET start, hoping the CBA will be ratified by then.
In the NFC North, some big names have been standing on the sideline awaiting final ratification. I've included an extended, but not necessarily all-inclusive, list below. We'll keep you updated when and if final word comes down Wednesday night.
Chicago Bears: Defensive tackle Anthony Adams, running back Marion Barber, defensive end Vernon Gholston, cornerback Corey Graham, receiver Sam Hurd, linebacker Brian Iwuh, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, punter Adam Podlesh, linebacker Nick Roach, tight end Matt Spaeth, center Chris Spencer, receiver Roy Williams
Minnesota Vikings: Safety Husain Abdullah, receiver Devin Aromashodu, nose tackle Remi Ayodele, receiver Bernard Berrian, receiver Michael Jenkins, offensive lineman Charlie Johnson, place-kicker Ryan Longwell, quarterback Donovan McNabb.