Report: Owners expect players back right after lockout ends
|07.12.11 at 7:50 pm ET|
One reason those close to labor negotiations are optimistic that a compressed offseason schedule will result in the loss of few, if any, games is because most owners expect their players back to work right after ratification.
Teams throughout the NFL are anticipating the near-immediate arrival of players at team facilities within hours of a new collective bargaining agreement being reached, officials from several teams told the NFL Network.
In the minds of most coaches and player personnel executives, the biggest loss of the spring due to the lockout was the loss of up to 14 organized team activities (OTAs). The Patriots, for example, held 12 in 2010.
This is when teams get a first look at their rookies and undrafted free agents, along with free agent veterans who have the chance to report to the team and get accustomed to the their surroundings and systems.
That is followed-up with a mini-camp in early to mid-June followed by the opening of training camp in the last week of July.
While it’s not clear yet whether teams will hold any type of mini-camps or formal on-field workouts before training camps start, teams are prepared for players’ arrivals. Teams are eager to see all players, particularly rookies and those coming off injuries.
Teams wants to administer physicals as soon as possible, especially to players that have had offseason procedures performed by surgeons other than team physicians. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning told reporters last week he was concerned about his return from neck surgery because he has been unable to consult with team trainers and doctors because of lockout restrictions.
NFL Network also reports teams also are preparing for classroom and film work with players. It is expected players will report to lift weights and go through conditioning work.
Teams officials said they will wait to get all rules from the league regarding football-related workouts but they do expect to see most players — especially team leaders, according to three team officials — almost right away when the lockout is lifted
Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that with the preseason hanging in the balance, legal teams for both sides of the labor fight worked early this hoping to set the table for key figures later in the week.