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Nearing an end

July 11, 2011 - Mike McLain
It appears that what we knew all along is about to happen -- the NFL lockout is coming to an end.

Did anyone actually think the labor dispute would spill over into the regiular season? For that matter, there was no way owners were going to lose two home preseason games.

Why it took so long is the head-scratcher. The two sides wasted valuable time staring each other downw after an initial rush of activity. Once it reached the critical stage, things began to come together.

Now it's time to get back to the business of getting prepared for another season. Free agency, which will be condensed into a period of a few weeks, will be the first order of business. Rookies, who could be facing a wage scale, have to be signed to contracts.

It's a tall order that could reach into August and swallow up the Hall of Fame game in its wake. It's a small price to pay to all involved, except the city of Canton.

It seems like a long time ago that the Browns named Pat Shurmur to replace Eric Mangini as coach. We have no idea how the new offense will look under his tutelage and if he's totally sold on quarterback Colt McCoy. While fans wait to see how Shurmur runs the show, they'll also be watching the impact Dick Jauron will have on the defense.

General manager Tom Heckert will also be busy in coming weeks trying to fill many holes on the roster via free agency. Help is needed at receiver and on the right side of the line on offense. The needs on defense are plenty, topped by adding depth to the line and finding a corner to complement Joe Haden and a safety to work with T.J. Ward.

The good thing is that football talk will return. Assuming, of course, that nothing derails negotiations.


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