Perhaps I was being naive when I expected Wednesday's hearing in federal court to break the stalemate between the NFL owners and players and at least get them talking again. Or as Sports Illustrated's Don Banks suggested, I was merely uninformed. Sorry if I'm not glued to my laptop reading every detail of the legal maneuverings that might rob fans of all or part of the 2011 season.
But now District Judge Susan Richard Nelson said she will take two weeks to decide whether to grant the players' injunction request to lift the lockout. The outcome will likely be appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis. That means weeks and months of legal wrangling with no talks in sight.
The April 28-30 NFL draft and the league's promised pre-draft release of the 2011 schedule of games that may not be played appears all fans have to look forward to for some time. That and Hines Ward's performances on "Dancing With the Stars.'' In the past, the power of the NFL was evident in the fan vote for participants like Emmitt Smith, Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp, Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner. Wonder if Ward will soon feel the backlash, even though the league orchestrated the lockout, not the players.
Thoughts on other matters:
- Kent State University copied Bradley University to a T in its announcement of Rob Senderoff as head coach Thursday. When Geno Ford took over at Bradley on March 28, the press conference was held in its basketball arena and drew an estimated crowd of 900. Ford's wife was presented roses from the school president and their children received gift bags. On Thursday, Senderoff's wife Lauren received a bouquet (although not as graciously), and their daughters Samantha (8) and Rachel (3) held small KSU mascot statues. (Samantha must have watched a few beauty pageants in her young life; she knew exactly how to hold a bouquet.)
- Weeks ago it looked like the safest thing the Browns could do with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft was take a defensive lineman. Now it's looking like the safest choices are cornerback Patrick Peterson or receiver A.J. Green. The deep class of defensive linemen is being picked apart, mainly because of injury issues and their label as ''one-year wonders.'' I'm still all in for North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn.
- Fans of the Indians and Reds have to be overjoyed going into this weekend. The Indians are 4-2 and just swept the Red Sox for the first time in 10 years. They're tied for first place in the AL Central Division for the first time since May 17, 2008. They finally have a manager who knows how to play small ball and manufacture runs. The Reds are 5-1; their 5-0 start was their best since 1990, the year they won the World Series. The crowd of 20,014 for Thursday's loss to the Houston Astros at Great American Ballpark included a walk-up sale of 6,301. During their 5-0 start, the Reds were swinging the bats like the Big Red Machine.
- That's exactly what this state needs in the wake of the NFL lockout and trouble in football paradise (aka Columbus).
- An Indians surge while Browns fans hold off on renewing their season tickets, reluctant to tie up money that may eventually be refunded, could cost the NFL some entertainment dollars in Northeast Ohio. And there's money for the taking with Cavs' season ticket holders abandoning ship.