First Bears preseason game one month away?

July 7th, 2011 - 5:45 pm

The Hall of Fame Game — the first preseason game each year, played in Canton, Ohio, at the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — is just one month away and it will feature the St. Louis Rams against the Chicago Bears.

Normally the thought of Bears game day action, even in a meaningless exhibition, has me ready to strap on the pads and hit the gridiron like the days of old. This year is a little bit different. The excitement has yielded to anxiety as the uncertainty of the NFL season hangs in the balance.

The latest vibe from the NFL landscape is that the owners and players are not that far away from reaching a new collective bargaining agreement, and a deal could be consummated by the end of next week. Whether or not we’re to believe this latest news is the question, but it is encouraging nonetheless.

A deal would have to get done soon if the Bears want to have any chance at playing in that Aug. 7 game against the Rams. They’re scheduled to open camp on July 22, a little more than two weeks before they kick off the preseason. Safety Chris Harris is one player who feels the Bears need to report to camp in time to be ready to play that first game.

“I’m cool with playing [the Hall of Fame] game if we get training camp started on time,” Harris said. “But anything past [July 22] then I’m not cool with it. Even if we report three days later, then it’s still past that date. The Bears organization … made the decision to have training camp when we’re having it because of that preseason game on Aug. 7. So that’s the amount of time it would take for us to get ready for the game.”

Bears football could be just around the corner. Nothing — camp or preseason — has been pushed back yet. But it’ll take a bit more sense of urgency from both sides of the table to get a deal done within a week to ensure a frenzied free agency occurs and operations remain on schedule.