It's Getting Down To Crunch Time For Hall Of Fame Game, Bears

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz might need just one day to prepare, and head coach Lovie Smith says that the team will be ready, but that doesn't mean the Hall of Fame Game will go off as scheduled. The holdup, of course, is the lockout, which is at 128 days and counting.

A new collective bargaining agreement could be days (hours?) away but that would still give the Bears and the Rams, the two teams set to play in Akron over the August 7 Hall of Fame weekend, something less than two weeks to prepare.

NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash said Wednesday evening that he expects the owners and players to vote on a new CBA at some point Thursday, but sounded less than optimistic that Hall of Fame Game would happen.

"I hope so," Pash told reporters in Atlanta for the owners meeting. "We’ll see. It’s getting tight. It’s getting pretty tight. It would be pretty challenging so that is one of the things we’ll have to focus on."

So now the question becomes whether the NFL -- and the Bears and Rams -- should rush to try to make this game happen, assuming the lockout ends in the coming days. Logistically, it seems like a nightmare, and when you consider that these preseason games are more about fringe players getting an opportunity to make the roster than showcasing what the first-teamers can do, there's a case for not rushing into this.

On the other hand, this is Hall of Fame weekend, and preseason football is now apart of that experience. NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci suggested the game be played under Pro Bowl rules -- no blitzing on defense or motion on offense, etc. -- for safety's sake, but if the lockout drags on much longer we're guessing the game will be scrapped altogether.

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