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.â†µ
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,there may be little value to these shirt and shorts sessions. Leadership roles will presumably be defined, but outside of that, little will be gained.â†µ
For now, Raymond James Stadium and One Buc Place will remain a ghost town. No shrill whistles will be heard, no yells across the field, and no cheers as someone rumbles into the endzone in a no-pads drill.â†µ
The lockout remains intact even as the draft approaches. Each new draftee that attends will have their name called, grab the jersey and a hat of their new favorite team, stroll across the stage to shake the commissioner's hand, and then be sent packing. No communication, no congratulations, no "Welcome to the team", just silence from the team's standpoint as no communication is allowed between the newest members of the (now defunct) NFLPA and the teams.â†µ
Pretty awesome system the NFL has, isn't it?