Mullin: NFL's 'hidden season' in full swing

Mullin: NFL's 'hidden season' in full swing
March 31, 2011, 5:31 pm
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Thursday, March 31, 2011Posted: 12:30 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The NFL offseason may be in turmoil and the pre- and regular seasons may still be in for some heavy weather, but the NFLs hidden season is in full cycle as it always is this time of year.

Call it the hidden season because its the part of the NFL year that few normally see and even fewer really appreciate. Its sometimes convenient to dismiss players as only working 16 Sundays (plus the odd Monday or Thursday) a year but this is the time of year when players sometimes determine whether theyll actually have jobs on those 16 game days.

Gregg Rosenthal at ProFootballTalk.com mentions Matt Forte and Greg Olsen getting their work in at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami along with a number of other NFLers. Olsen checks in with Twitter reports as well (@gregolsen82).

The lockout is contributing to a long-standing offseason tradition among NFL players, and not just Bears players. And it wasnt always just offseason.

The current strength and conditioning staff and facilities are substantially improved at the Halas Hall that Michael McCaskey and the organization designed and opened in 1997. But a number of players, more now with Halas closed to them pending the April 6 hearing on an injunction to end the lockout, are doing their work at a number of facilities around the area and around the country.

Friends working out at Poliquin Performance Center in Northfield share machines with Robbie Gould (Man, Robbie Gould is strong! was one observation this morning), Roberto Garza (People have no idea how huge and strong these guys really are was another report) and others are spending workout time at EFT Sports Performance and TCBOOST in Northbrook and other facilities specializing in high-intensity trainings.

Theres a funny historical aside to all this, however.

Players have always used these facilities for offseason and sometimes in-season extra work. Its less the case now but players at one time were so unhappy with some of the strength and fitness directives coming from a (now-gone) strength coach that they covertly went to private trainers and facilities while at the same time complying with what the team was requiring. And they were adamant: Keep it a secret.

Thats changed in recent years with Rusty Jones, the director of physical development, athletic trainer Tim Bream and some very sophisticated technologies for rehab as well as basic programs.

And now they at least dont have to keep it a secret.

BASEBALL ALERT!

Michael Jordan once briefly left a promising basketball career for a fling at baseball. Now Matt Forte?

Forte tweeted this morning (@MattForte22), think Im gonna play pro baseball. Come to the Sox game on April 9 to catch my debut.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.