Rashied Davis is confident the Chicago Bears can still report to training camp on time on July 22 – 13 days from now.
But the free agent wide receiver realizes there is plenty that has to happen between now and then. For starters, Davis is a man without a contract, although he is hoping to re-sign with the club when the new league year begins. But there needs to be a labor deal in place before teams can get down to business and the Bears and St. Louis Rams – who are scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio, are quickly running out of time.
“Both sides have made progress,” Davis said this afternoon at Northwestern University, where he volunteered for a free youth football camp put on by Position Tech. “It would take a deal getting done next week. I don't know if it's going to happen. I think it's possible.”
Former Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, who remains an alternate player representative for the locker room, was less optimistic.
“What is the minimum amount of time needed for free agency?” Hillenmeyer said.
Then, he pointed out that the sides aren’t as close to a deal as the general public would like to believe.
“The last email I sent the guys, and it was reflected in an email (player rep) Robbie (Gould) sent out (Friday), was 'Don't believe what you see on television,'” Hillenmeyer said. “We are not on the cusp of a deal. The sides have gotten closer and we're continuing to talk and we're taking less breaks between talks.
“All of those things are good signs, but we don't want guys to think, 'Good, a deal is going to get done next week so I can start spending money like I would if I was going to be getting a paycheck in a month.' The biggest thing that could undermine the players, in terms of us not sticking together, is if guys got themselves in situations where they simply had to cave just to get a paycheck.”
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune