We’re five months away from the scheduled start of the 2011 NFL regular season, which might seem like more than enough time to reach a labor deal and get players ready to play.
But Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the team’s player representative, views things differently.
Whitworth told USA Today that it’s only natural for players to take it easy during the lockout, and that as a result they’ll show up rusty and out of shape whenever the labor dispute gets resolved.
“Guys are human beings. And if you tell guys ‘It doesn’t look like you’re doing anything until July or August,’ guys will lose a lot of incentive to train and to get better,” Whitworth said. “You will get a lot of guys who will say, ‘We’re not even going to play. I’m not going to work hard all the time.'”
Whitworth thinks everyone should be ready for sub-par football if players don’t have a full offseason to get ready.
“You’re going to ruin the chance for quality football,” he said. “There will be more injuries and things that affect the game. Period.”
So even if a deal gets done in time for the season to start five months from today, that doesn’t mean the quality of play will be what NFL fans have come to expect.