An underestimated aspect of strikes and lockouts in professional sports is the impact that work stoppages can have on the careers of individual players.
When Major League Baseball went on strike in 1994, Matt Williams was on pace to break Roger Maris' home run record. It didn't happen, of course, and Williams missed his one shot at baseball immortality.
Al Harrington came out of high school to be drafted with the 25th pick in the 1998 NBA draft. He needed desperately to be around NBA players doing NBA activities at that impressionable point in his young career. The 1998 NBA lockout prevented that from happening and Harrington was a non-entity for five years at the beginning of his career.
Then there are guys like Derian Hatcher in the NHL.
Hatcher missed most of the 2003-2004 season and needed to come back strong in 2004-2005, aged 32. But there was no 2004-2005 season, and by the time Hatcher was playing NHL hockey again, his prime was behind him. He was never the same player.
And so with the NFL work stoppage looming large in the Philadelphia Eagles' future, here's a look at the 10 Eagles most likely to be hurt by losing part or all of the upcoming NFL season.
By all accounts, whether you hate Andy Reid or love him, it is generally agreed that the 2011 season is a crossroads of sorts in his career.
If the Eagles make the playoffs and falter again, the growing consensus is that this will be the final time that Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman will put up with not winning a Super Bowl.
Eagles fans will have all the evidence they need that Reid can get his team to the playoffs but cannot guide them to a championship.
But if the season is either cancelled or shortened, Reid will have all the excuses he needs to justify any postseason shortcomings.
Sure, the Eagles' first and second picks will probably survive and remain with the team through 2011 and have a chance to compete in 2012.
But, every season, a handful of late-round picks and undrafted free agents show up at training camp and make a name for themselves by showing something that they didn't show at the scouting combine or in team workouts.
But if the season is shut down until September or October, those players might never get that chance.
Ernie Sims started all 16 games in each of his first three seasons in the league with the Detroit Lions and looked good doing it.
After an injury-plagued 2009 season, Sims was traded to the Eagles in time for 2010. But despite starting 15 games, he had a lackluster season.
Sims needs to show up in camp and prove that he can be the same player that he was earlier in his career. If there is no 2011 season, Sims could suddenly be a guy that NFL teams forget they are interested in.
A couple of season ago, Jason Avant was one of the Eagles' rising stars. As of 2010, Avant is the third receiver on a team with a pass-catching halfback and pass-catching tight end.
If the season starts too late for Avant to be traded and his numbers continue to be hurt by the competition for balls among the Eagles receiving corps, his career could come to an end in a hurry.
Moise Fokou was drafted in the seventh round by the Eagles in 2009.
He played all 16 games that year and started in the last four. In 2010, he started 11 games for the much-maligned Eagles linebacker corps.
In 2012, Fokou will likely either continue to move forward as a defensive player, or be lost in the shuffle as the Eagles attempt to remake a unit that was amongst the most disappointing in their recent history.
For a player in Fokou's position, training camp and preseason are incredibly important to continue development.
Without either of those, Fokou could quickly become a memory.
You know what a young, still-developing running back with raw talent and who's still learning how to be a running back in this league sorely needs more than anything else at this point in their career?
A year off.
Quintin Mikell spent four years as a backup, starting one single game through the age of 26.
He started 11 games in his fifth season and became the full-time starter from the beginning of his sixth.
In 2009, Mikell made the Pro Bowl. This past season, he set a career high for interceptions, fumble recoveries, tackles and even scored a touchdown.
Mikell, now 31, has momentum on his side and is hitting his peak—but it's the peak of an overachieving player soon to be on the downside of his career. Taking a year off would kill the momentum and likely hasten the end of his career.
Can a 37-year-old kicker afford to miss all or part of a season at that age?
I think not. Not even David Akers.
Michael Vick is currently 31 years old, which is not the end of the world for an NFL quarterback like it is for a running back.
However, given the percentage of Vick's value that is built into his ability to run, it does tend to indicate that the perception of his value will soon be on the decline.
The Eagles franchised Vick this offseason, which means that he is once again in a contract year and must once again prove himself.
But if he doesn't have that chance, or has to do so in an abbreviated season without the benefit of a preseason, things will become much more difficult.
For all we know, the window is already shut on Kevin Kolb.
He's probably spent one too many seasons not starting in the NFL and he can't possibly afford to miss another season.
Frankly, it might not take cancelling the season to kill Kolb's career.
If the season is saved at the last minute, just in time for a shortened preseason, the Eagles may not have enough time to trade Kolb, which will all but eliminate any chance he has of playing in 2011, since Michael Vick has the starting job.
And Kevin Kolb officially becomes a great, big "what could have been" story.