There most likely won't be any greetings like this one between newly inducted Hall of Famers and players. Although both owners and players are optimistic a deal will soon be reached to end the NFL lockout, it likely won't occur in time to allow the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams to play in the game in Canton, Ohio which traditionally kicks off the NFL season.
Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole reports this morning that the expected July 21st date to ratify an agreement between the owners and the players will be far too late to save the Hall of Fame Game. At issue are the unsigned free agents and draft picks that still have to negotiate with teams. The Bears alone have 19 such players listed on their roster. That doesn't even consider any undrafted free agents that might be brought into camp to compete for jobs.
Although there has been no formal announcement from the league or the Hall of Fame, sources within the Rams and Bears organizations are not expecting their teams to be in Canton. Of course enshrinement ceremonies will continue as planned, with Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, and Marshall Faulk among those to be enshrined. This is particularly bittersweet for Faulk, who will enter the Hall as a Ram, and St. Louis fans who no doubt made plans to celebrate Faulk's induction and to see the Rams play.Tags: Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, Hall of Fame Game, NFL