Bears, Rams to square off in Hall of Fame game

If the owners and the players have everything squared away in time, the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams will meet in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

The kickoff to the 2011 season is scheduled for Aug. 7 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, and the teams were obvious choices with defensive end Richard Dent and running back Marshall Faulk two of the players being enshrined Aug. 6.

Their selection could be a boost for the Bears and Rams because it would give them a one-week jump on the rest of the league. The teams in the Hall of Fame Game are permitted to open training camp one week early. That time could be valuable if the work stoppage wipes out a portion or all of the voluntary offseason workout programs and minicamps. The Rams, of course, will be working with a first-year offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels, who will be anxious to learn his roster.

But if no resolution is found by mid-summer, allowing a significant period like free agency to take place, then the Hall of Fame Game will be one of the first events to be wiped out by the work stoppage.

The NFL released the entire preseason schedule today. The regular season schedule is expected to be released later this month although the league has not provided a specific date.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/

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