Yes folks, it is finally over. With the player reps for the soon-to-be-again NFL Players Association unanimously approving a new CBA with slight modifications from the version the owner also unanimously approved recently, the NFL lockout is over and football is back.
Let me repeat: FOOTBALL. IS. BACK.
There are still some issues like the players actually reforming their union, but those matters will be resolved as players report to camp. There were a few casualties on the calendar such as delayed free agency, no organized team activities (OTAs) and no Hall of Fame game but going forward the NFL schedule remains largely intact with free agency scheduled to take place as training camps open.
Players must also ratify the new CBA but there is little no doubt that they will overwhelmingly. Once that happens, players can once again start being paid.
What remains to be determined is any long term damage to the game. Fans will return and cheer for their teams as they have since the league was created. The damage to the legacy of Commissioner Roger Goodell remains to be seen. He never lost any regular season games, but he still presided over the league’s first work stoppage in over 20 years.
There will be debates over who were the big winners and losers of this new deal and the debacle that preceded it. Now is not the time for that, however.
Today is a day for celebration, joy and a big sigh of relief. Football is back.
Get ready fans. Free agency and training camp will be occurring at the same time.
You think the process to end the lockout was chaotic? You haven’t seen anything yet. At least this part will be fun to watch.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke