Jason Witten hopes league year can start

SAN ANTONIO -- There is a chance the NFL's league year will start Thursday. If that's the case, players who signed new contracts will be allowed to practice, and signing and roster bonuses will be paid out.

That's a big if.

The league year is scheduled to start 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. Once that happens, the players who signed contracts can participate.

At issue is the players recertifying as a union and working out a few details of the collective bargaining agreement, such as the drug testing and conduct policy.

"We hope it can be resolved," Cowboys' player rep tight end Jason Witten said. "We knew it was going to take a while to get some of these issues resolved. So much work has been put in."

Until it happens, Kyle Kosier, Doug Free, Gerald Sensabaugh, Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman, Alan Ball, Jesse Holley and Jason Hatcher are unable to practice.

"We need our guys out here," Witten said.

Jason Garrett said the team will slowly bring in the veteran players once they pass the annual conditioning test, which doesn't seem like a problem.