Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 1:13 p.m.
By John Mullin
The Bears are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London on Oct. 23. But the venue for that game hinges on the labor impasse between NFL owners and players being resolved by Aug. 1, per the league.
So, in the wake of Mondays court ruling in Minneapolis at least temporarily halting the owner-imposed lockout, have the Bears gone ahead with their plans for that London game?
We have to work on that soon, Bears president Ted Phillips said Tuesday, laughing.
Whether owners and players are laughing by then remains problematic, but at least there was a tiny trickle of movement Tuesday.
The gates to the grounds around Halas Hall were open Tuesday for the first time since the lockout descended over the NFL as that ruling by Judge Susan Nelson in Minnesota granted an injunction to halt the locking out of players by teams.
But only a small handful of players kicker Robbie Gould and defensive linemen Israel Idonije and Matt Toeaina, plus Piccolo Award winners Anthony Adams and JMarcus Webb -- made the trip to Bears headquarters, since the weight room and locker room and other areas of the building werent generally open and operating player-wise.
Phillips and Cliff Stein, senior director of football operations and general counsel, met with the players casually and the first day of the post-injunction era passed with neither incident nor fanfare.
The judges decision will be appealed and other elements of the situation, such as a possible start to free agency, remain unsettled.
So we just said to the players that until we get some clarification, youre welcome in but were not opening the building for business just yet, Phillips said. Hopefully we will be soon.
The labor situation has had its scratchiness in charges and counter-charges by representatives of both sides. But if there is any underlying acrimony, it was not evident Tuesday.
There arent any hard feelings, Phillips said. Its never been about the team vs. the players. We love the players. Theyre what make the game great and were hoping that as soon as both sides can get a collective bargaining agreement worked out, then well be able to get back to playing football, which is what both sides want...
Right now I think everyones looking for clarification. I think the players are; the clubs are. Hopefully well get some clarification from the courts soon and well go from there.
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.