Because the Bears are scheduled to be a participant in the Hall of Fame Game on August 7, they are set to open their training camp on July 22, about a week earlier than most teams. Of course if there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement reached by then, the game could be canceled and the start of camp could be delayed.
Bears SS Chris Harris told the Chicago Tribune that if camp is pushed back at all, the team should not have to play its full slate of preseason games.
"No one wants to play four exhibition games, but that's what we do. I'm cool with playing (the Hall of Fame) game if we get training camp started on time," Harris told the newspaper. "But anything past (July 22), then I'm not cool with it."
The safety said that even if camp is delayed just a few days, it is not worth risking injury for the meaningless game in Canton. Bears management specifically chose July 22 as the date needed to begin camp in order to be ready for the Hall of Fame game on time, so anything after that would be a concern for Harris.
"Even if we report three days later, then it's still past that date. The Bears organization, (head coach) Lovie (Smith) and (GM) Jerry (Angelo) made the decision to have training camp when we're having it because of that preseason game on Aug. 7. So that's the amount of time it would take for us to get ready for the game. That's how I look at it."
The Bears will play the Rams in the Hall of Fame game this year if a new labor agreement is reached in time. Harris said he is cautious about reading too much into how the negotiations are going.
"With the way this thing is going, it's more frustrating than at the start because you can't plan anything," Harris said. "We're used to having a definitive schedule, and we don't have it."