This time, it seems to be true. The lockout is about to end. The owners are on board. On Monday, the players are expected to be too.
Go ahead and ring the bells. Football is coming back.
Keep the celebration short, however. The end of the lockout is the start of business. And business in Foxboro this offseason will consist of several shoes dropping after months in the air.
Transition is normal in football, and this year is no exception. The Patriots have some issues on their hands that labor uncertainty has prevented them from addressing. Among them, they have two running backs who have seen the game pass them by, an impressive backup quarterback, a mainstay tackle without a contract and a very good, very angry lineman to deal with.
The lockout may soon be over, but for the Patriots, the work will just be getting started.