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NFL Lockout Ends, Long National Nightmare Over (Almost)

Multiple reports say that our long national nightmare -- aka the NFL Lockout of 2011 -- is just hours away from ending. The players and owners were said to have burned the late night oil (most likely florescent oil and not whale oil) and hammered out their final remaining contract points.

The NFLPA has scheduled a conference call for 11:00 am ET with their Executive Committee and the 32 player reps to approve the deal. Shortly after, sometime Monday, would be press conference to officially end the dispute that has caused America to miss all of zero regular season football game, no NFL preseason games and likely just a couple of days of training camp. How did we survive?

From there things will start happening fast. ESPN reports that the new league year would officially start August 2 at 4:00 p.m. ET. But even before that the one thing fans were denied, free agency and trades, would resume.

• Teams can sign their own free agents and begin talking with other unrestricted free agents Monday afternoon.

• Teams can begin signing unrestricted free agents Tuesday at noon ET but those contracts would not take effect until Aug. 2.

• Teams can begin talking trades Monday afternoon. Any trades would become official on Saturday, July 30.

Training camps would start on a staggered schedule with 10 teams reporting on Wednesday, 10 on Thursday and 10 more on Friday. The Cardinals (allegedly) are in the Wednesday group on that schedule.

You have to wonder though if they will actually "start camp" that fast. There's a lot of logistics to get set up before the big boys actually strap on the pads and start hitting each other. Arizona Republic's Kent Somers has more on the timing.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - A guess at when camp opens in Flagstaff
The team is packed for Flagstaff, however, and coach Ken Whisenhunt plans to go, even though it likely will mean starting practice without a full 90-man roster.

The details are fluid but much should be revealed to the patient fan today. Stay tuned and enjoy some of these links we've prepared for your morning consumption.