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NFL Lockout 2011: Lockout Nearly Over, Players To Return To Work Next Week, According To Report

The talk has ramped up in recent days, talk that the NFL lockout, now four months old, is almost ending. Day after day this week it was like the Lockout who cried wolf, with conflicting reports saying the two sides had a deal set, to hearing moments later a deal was not close at all. Well, to jump on that see-saw again, Mark Maske and Mike Jones of the Washington Post are reporting the lockout is virtually a done deal, with teams and players ready to report to work sometime next week:

Attorneys and financial experts for the league and players are scheduled to work this weekend and negotiators are planning to reconvene Monday, amid widespread expectation that the deal will be finished in time for the two sides to present it to their court-appointed mediator Tuesday. Owners of the 32 NFL teams are scheduled to meet next Thursday in Atlanta and could vote to approve the deal then.

This timing certainly seems to jive with what the rumors have been, as Tuesday is July 19th and Thursday is the magical July 21st date that so many have reported as the day the lockout dies (cue the Don McLean).

One last thing. I'll tell you one guy who really seems to think this lockout is over: John Beck. And it better be, or his wife might have some serious complaints about his travel planning:

Washington Redskins quarterback John Beck was unloading a moving truck in Northern Virginia Friday afternoon. Beck spent much of the offseason training in California with fellow NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but boarded a plane from San Diego with his wife and three boys Thursday evening. They endured a three-hour delay in Chicago and landed in Northern Virginia at 3 a.m.