With the 2011 NFL season still on hold because of the lockout, Bears players, like everyone else around the league, have been forced to work out informally. By all accounts, quarterback Jay Cutler appears fully recovered from his January knee injury, and the team has every intention of defending its NFC North title.
That journey starts with the Hall of Fame Game, traditionally played during the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canton, Ohio. It's also the first preseason game on the NFL calendar. And even though there isn't yet a new collective bargaining agreement, the Bears and Rams (the other team scheduled to play) plan to be in Canton on August 7 for the game.
"We're making all plans to have the game on time. We've heard from both parties -- the owners and the players -- and they've expressed their desire to have the game. So, that's our plan," hall president Steve Perry told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Tuesday.
First things first: the lockout needs to be resolved, preferably in the next week or so to insure that no preseason games are lost. The Bears would need to begin training camp no later than the last week of July to have enough time to prepare for the Hall of Fame game.
Another reason the Bears want to be in Canton: Richard Dent, the team's all-time sack leader, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But even if the lockout drags on and preseason games have to be cancelled, the induction ceremony will go on as planned.