"Welcome back, football." That was the tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday night, and it couldn't have been any more breathtaking in its pithiness.
(It didn't matter that that lockout wasn't officially over -- it was like an expert political pundit "calling" an election; besides, he wouldn't have typed it if he wasn't 100% sure -- beyond that, he had the definitive report on Sunday of the lockout's impending end. The point is: It was a signal, a symbol. And an entirely welcome one.)
And now we get back to football -- the stuff that matters to us, like which free agents will my team sign and which returning players look good (and which don't) and who will break out this year and is it too early to get ready for my fantasy draft?
I actually love the condensed, speed-dating vibe of free-agency this year -- fans have never needed the weeks and weeks of drama and rumors and misdirection. Condensed into a few days, it's a glorious sprint that couldn't be more fan-friendly. Let's just get those deals done.
Teams have fewer weeks to install schemes or evaluate players. Some players will come back in great shape -- others might be out of shape enough that they are a red flag for injury. The limited contact in practices will also change the NFL -- almost entirely for the better.
Things are hopping at Quickish today, as they have been all weekend on the "End of the Lockout" beat. Pop by for only the most important lockout updates and best analysis of the situation -- not to mention the excitement of free agency and camps opening.
It's going to be a great week. And a great season.
And it's so nice to be able to say that, isn't it?