Retired Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent on the sidelines before an NFC divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers Jan. 15, 2006, at Soldier Field.
We have good news and bad news on the labor talks front, Bears fans.
The good news is an ESPN report that the owners believe that a deal can be in place by the time the owners meet on July 21, which would for most training camps to start on time, and most pre-season games to be played. There is still a ton of work to be done before that happens, particularly on the rookie wage scale. There is no guarantee that a deal will be in place, because labor talks this complex are extremely delicate. However, it's a good sign.
Now for the bad news: The Bears are one of the two teams whose training camps will be affected. To play in the Hall-of-Fame game on Aug. 7, the Bears need to start training camp on July 22. A July 21 agreement date makes that impossible, meaning that the Bears wouldn't start camp in time for the Hall-of-Fame game.
The person that stinks the most for? Richard Dent. The Super Bowl XX MVP will be enshrined in August, and was looking forward to seeing his team on the field in Canton.
Dent, who will be presented by his college coach Joe Gilliam, promises that he won't let the lack of a game ruin his day, but it has to be disappointing. A labor squabble that he has nothing to do with it promises to cast a pall over a weekend that should be about Dent and the six other enshrinees.
It's also a disappointment for the Bears fans who thought they'd get the treat of seeing their team play as well as see Dent get inducted. They'll still get to cheer on Dent, but something completely beyond their control will keep them from seeing their team play.