Owners and coaches attend the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21 in New Orleans, despite an owners-imposed lockout in effect since March 12.
One month into the lockout, and not much has been accomplished by either side. The labor troubles that brought the NFL to a halt are still around, and the only thing that's been produced is more hard feelings.
ESPN's John Clayton reported that the players wanted to meet with the owners last week, and the owners refused. That contradicts the owners' public stance of wanting to get the labor problems solved at the negotiating table, not the courtrooms.
Though fans might think that the lockout won't affect them unless games are canceled, Chicago fans who plan to attend the Bears Expo at the end of the month should also plan on not seeing the heroes from the 2010 NFC North champs.
The lockout prevents players and teams from having any contact, so current fan favorites like Devin Hester, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher won't be signing autographs or posing for pictures. Chris Harris said on Twitter that he would be disturbed if any current players attended.
If you want to make the lockout instantly real, try explaining to your 9-year-old nephew who Neal Anderson is when he just wants to see Matt Forte.
"Was he on the Super Bowl team?"
"Well, no. But he is second among Bears all-time rushers. He was Matt Forte before Matt Forte got to the Bears!"
But the end could be near. The players' anti-trust suit will be heard in a Minneapolis courtroom on Wednesday, and a ruling in their favor could stop the owners from locking out the players. Negotiations will still happen, but mini-camps, voluntary workouts and fan expos could return.