NFL releases preseason schedule

The NFL announced its preseason schedule Tuesday -- assuming the lockout is over in time for games to be played in August.

The Chicago Bears will face the St. Louis Rams in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday, Aug. 7 to kick off the 2011 preseason. It will be quarterback Jay Cutler's first action since being knocked out of the NFC Championship Game and having his toughness questioned. The game will be televised by NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

ESPN's preseason slate features four games and begins with the San Diego Chargers hosting the defending NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. ET.

On Monday, Aug. 15, ESPN will televise the New York Jets, coming off their second straight AFC Championship Game appearance, facing the Texans in Houston.

The Bears travel to New Meadowlands Stadium to face the Giants on Monday, Aug. 22 in ESPN's featured game in the second week of the preseason.

ESPN's preseason schedule concludes with the Washington Redskins visiting the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Aug. 25.

The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers will play before a national television audience (CBS, 8 p.m. ET) on Friday, Aug. 26 when they visit the Indianapolis Colts.

The AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers make their only national television appearance (Fox, 8 p.m. ET) on Thursday, Aug. 18 when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.

The schedule announced Tuesday includes 65 games through Sept. 2. In all 11 games will be televised nationally and all of the 2010 playoff teams will make at least one appearance.

The preseason schedule, of course, is contingent on the players and NFL owners reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The old one expired March 11 after talks with a federal mediator in Washington broke off.

Mediation will restart Thursday in Minneapolis and U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson is still considering a request from the players to lift the lockout imposed by owners after the players dissolved their union.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.