We're sitting around the office right now talking, asking questions and trying to plan for the open of the 2011 season. Oh, the questions. We have a lot of questions, so many of them.
What we know is that the season is upon us, and that in a very short period of days -- hours? -- teams are going to start negotiating with their current players, with unrestricted free agents, announcing trades and signing rookies. It's a fluid situation -- another catchy way of saying that all heck is about to break loose and nobody has all of the answers.
The Eagles are as well positioned as can be to make this an extremely productive week. They are experienced working with each other and they are experienced in the art of flexibility. Things are simply not going to go as they have gone in the past. Teams are going to be taken off track on a daily basis until the picture stabilizes on the football side of things.
The NovaCare Complex is buzzing with the expectation that training camp is going to open soon and that thousands of Eagles fans will descend upon Lehigh University chanting "E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!" and that in a matter of weeks everyone will be back in stride and the long months of waiting will be far in the background.
I don't have any inside information at this point. When does training camp begin? When can the Eagles sign their own players and announce their moves? When are trades permitted? How quickly will practices open to the public if, in fact, the team goes to Bethlehem, PA for training camp?
When will I see the first Eagles player since that one day in April when team facilities were open? Will any players come to the NovaCare Complex or will they go to training camp?
It's a fascinating time for everyone. The timeline is not official, so we are hearing three versions of the same story. It appears that every team will play four preseason games and that the regular season will proceed as scheduled.
Beyond that, we're ready for everything and anything. I suggest you do the same thing. It hasn't been an easy offseason for anyone and the fans were remarkably resilient and patient. We appreciate your understanding of a most difficult four-plus months. Now it appears the NFL will have labor piece for 10 years and that we can enjoy uninterrupted the best game and the best league in the world for the next decade.
We're almost there. When we get to the starting line and the gate opens and the league says "Go," it's going to be the most unusual experience the NFL has ever had. Front offices will be tested like never before. And those that see the big picture and that have used these four months the best are the ones that will come out ahead.