Monday, July 25, 2011
Bears' training camp starts Friday
By Jeff Dickerson
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears player representative Robbie Gould confirmed on Monday that the Bears will open training camp Friday on the campus of Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais, Ill.
The first two practices will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon. Both workouts will be conducted without pads but will be open to the public. The Bears will practice with pads next Monday.
The annual Family Fest workout at Soldier Field has been moved to Aug. 5.
Players approved the terms of a settlement to end the lockout on Monday.
"It's been a long process," Gould told ESPNChicago.com following a four-hour NFLPA player rep conference call. "In negotiations, there have been some roller coaster-like ups and downs to each step in the process. At the end of the day, it's great for football, it's very good for the players, great for the fans and great for the owners. I think everybody should be excited about getting back to football.
"We will be in training camp starting Friday."
Veteran players can report to Halas Hall on Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. for conditioning and classroom work, according to the recently updated 2011 league calendar.
While the Bears kicker and player representative is relieved players and owners have agreed to a settlement, Gould cautions people from believing the matter is 100 percent resolved.
"The deal is accepted in a majority of terms, but we still have a long way to go in order to get the benefits package put in place and the players to sign off on those," Gould said. "We will be in training camp starting July 29, recertifying as a union and start collectively bargaining those terms. If we can't come to those terms, we'll deal with that at a later point."
But on a personal note, Gould is pleased the two sides were able to come to an agreement after a 132-day lockout that featured, at times, plenty of conflicting reports regarding the process of the talks.
"We felt as if it was a fair deal," Gould said. "With that being said, there is a lot to happen for a CBA to be ratified. There were terms that the owners put contingencies on as far as accepting a settlement. We have to recertify as a union and in order to have a full CBA, we have to recertify in order to collectively bargain."
Players are expected spend the first few days of camp signing the union cards necessary to authorize the recertification of the NFLPA.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.