There's a lockout on in the NFL. The league over, players cobble together workouts and study playbooks without the guidance of coaches. For their part, coaches and front offices pour themselves bourbon and stare wistfully out at practice fields. Never the twain shall meet, as they say.
CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman reports that flagrant violations of the no-contact stipulated in the lockout terms are happening frequently. To wit:
The workout ended and a small group of players from one NFL team left a practice field, drove to a nearby house of a teammate and went inside. Once there, one of the players put his phone, near the kitchen, on speaker.
A few rings and then a familiar voice answered. It was one of the offensive assistant coaches. "How did practice go?" the assistant asked and a relaxed, 20-minute conversation between coach and players ensued.
This shouldn't be a huge surprise to anybody immersed in the cloak and dagger world of today's NFL, where a defensive end can be listed as questionable to play whether he has a hangnail or is clinically dead. Of course coaches and players are looking for any competitive advantage they can get. Everyone fully expects football to be back on by the time autumn rolls around, and you're insane if you think more than a handful of players are going to show up out of shape and unready for that moment. Their assistant coaches are going out their job, albeit in a skulky kind of way.
As subversive as it is, I can't be troubled by it. In fact, it kind of warms my heart to see both sides ignoring the rules so everyone involved can enjoy better football later in 2011. Yeah, I like that.
What say you?