The first casualties of the lockout are starting to occur in NFL cities across the country. Typically minicamps start being run around the beginning of April, but not this year. The fields are met with no players, no coaches, no drills being run. It's a reminder that the NFL is on, at least for now, a permanent hiatus.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception to this sobering reality. While there have been talks of a player-led camp, no such thing, at least to my knowledge, has taken place. It's early and Josh Freeman and company sounded confident they would put something together, but outside of staying in shape, I wonder how much value will be derived from a players only practice session. It may help Freeman, or other players be viewed as leaders, but from the structural standpoint, I imagine there isn't much value to these sessions.
The talks have been paused since the lockout began, with both sides spewing rhetoric through various mouthpieces with no real apparent intent to meet and resolve these issues. With the NFL Draft on the horizon, there's a glimmer of hope that both sides will see the fans interest, the fact that we want football, and will work on a compromise. But the reality of it is the NFL will reap the benefits of a big draft weekend, the players will walk across the stage, shake hands with the commissioner and then politely be told that they can longer talk to the coaches and personnel who just made their dreams come true.
What a great system.