Sharing a few thoughts as momentum builds toward an agreement between owners and players:
1. Two of the last three weeks have been spent disconnecting from the laptop and football, for the most part. It was a great time, spent with family and friends, and now it's great to be back. The excitement is here to attack another season as we take this journey together. That's the way I view this time of year; it's time to go all-in. So let's fire it up.
2. What a great way to return to work, reading this report from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen on the "growing belief inside league circles that the NFL and NFL Players Association will have an agreement in place that can be ratified during the July 21 league meetings in Atlanta." The piece includes some "Transition Rules" that map out some of the key dates.
3. Mike Vrabel officially announced his retirement this morning in a statement through his agent, Neil Cornrich. Vrabel has accepted a position as linebackers coach at Ohio State, his alma mater. Part of the statement read: "I am especially grateful to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, who not only gave me the opportunity to play for a team that won three Super Bowl championships and an NFL record 21 games in a row, but also taught me invaluable lessons on creating the ultimate team approach." When I think of Vrabel's accomplishments in New England, toughness, consistency, smarts, selflessness and touchdown catches are a few of the first things to come to mind.
4. Our "behind the scenes" blog series will wrap up this week, highlighting some of the folks who work far away from the spotlight but are integral members of the Patriots' organization.
Time to get to work...