Chicago Bears And The 2011 UFL Draft

If you have been living in some walled-in complex without access to television or the internet, you may not have known about the NFL lockout. Yeah, apparently after the recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) fell through, the NFL began what can only be described as a Molasses-Slow, Paint-Drying-Dull Court Battle.

Well, fear not pro football fans! The United Football League (UFL) is firing on all five cylinders, preparing for the league's 2011 season! Just yesterday, the league conducted their first ever Twitter draft — a draft conducted entirely online at Twitter.com. I honestly thought the idea seemed kind of silly, but in execution, I felt it was actually nifty. Seeing as how Twitter seemed to preempt basically every draft pick in the NFL 2011 Draft, it seems only right to skip the middleman.

Anyway, of note to Bears fans: The Virginia Destroyers (my team of choice until an Illinois or Florida team makes an appearance/reappearance) drafted two former Bears, running back Adrian Peterson (a long-time backup and special teams standout) and defensive tackle Ian Scott (who served in the Bears d-line rotation for several years).

Great news for me! I like both those guys, and because the Virginia Destroyers are pretty much the Florida Tuskers (my original team) in a different state, I'm pretty stoked this marriage has taken place.

Of course, most of these guys will be holding out for an NFL contract. A lot of the players drafted by the UFL yesterday were UDFA — un-drafted free agents — from the 2011 NFL Draft. Because there's no new CBA, the NFL cannot sign these guys as roster fillers and practice squad players like they typically do.

This uncommon opening has allowed the UFL to snatch some otherwise unavailable talent and actually develop these young players — or show signs of life for the older players, a la Dominic Rhodes in 2010. The UFL schedule, which ends in late November, allows these players to become the equivalent of September call-ups in baseball. I believe they must pay the UFL a substantial fee if they breach their contract and sign on with the NFL (similar to how the baseball minor leagues worked in the early 1900s).

Anyway, I'm excited about the UFL and think a minor league for football is long overdue!

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