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updated: 4/30/2011 8:00 PM

Greed will determine when NFL fantasy, reality intersect

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A thought kept flashing through the mind Saturday while sitting in Halas Hall during the NFL draft.

Selecting players right now is like renting a tuxedo but the royal wedding is in limbo because the bride and her prince are bickering.

Maybe you heard that the league is embroiled in a lockout. Of course, maybe you also heard that it isn't.

It all depends on which day it is. Today? Yes, the NFL is locking out players over a labor dispute.

Halas Hall always is like Fantasy Island during the draft but never more so than this year.

Heck, as usual let's dream that each of the Bears' draft choices in 2011 winds up in the Hall of Fame by 2031.

Meanwhile, we might as well also dream that there will be an NFL season this year.

But honestly, who knows? Once outside Halas Hall, fantasy turns to reality and football returns to the hands of lawyers rather than quarterbacks.

"I'm ready as soon as the lockout is over," Bears' first-round draft choice Gabe Carimi said in between posing for photos and meeting the media. "I'm sure everybody feels that way, too."

So, when might the lockout be over? A good guess is your guess is as good as my guess and mine is as good as anybody else's guess.

Popular opinion is that everybody in the NFL is making so much money that neither the owners nor players will allow next season to be canceled.

Of course, people are missing the point. The very reason a work stoppage is under way is that so much money is at stake.

When neither side is cashing in is when negotiation and compromise occur. When $9 billion is at stake ... well, that's when fierce competitors fight their fiercest for every bottom dollar.

Before becoming angry over the lockout consider that, as sports often does, the NFL merely is reflecting society.

If there's money to be had in America, most people want it. If there's more money to be had, most people want more of it.

Like it or not, it's what we have become.

Seriously, a parking spot on the street outside an apartment building used to be a bonus in this country.

Later a family had to have a one-car garage. That evolved into a two-car garage or a three-car garage. Drive through my middle-class neighborhood now and there are some four-car garages.

Just imagine how many autos and how big a garage and how spacious a mansion billionaire football owners and millionaire football players feel compelled to have.

The military is fighting a couple wars right now -- or is it three our four? -- to protect the right of all of us to go broke being greedy.

So don't expect the NFL argument to end just because common sense and the common good figure to prevail sooner or later.

Football as we once knew it -- you know, when it was played on the field instead of in the courts -- will return when either the players or the owners have difficulty making the next payment on some luxury item.

Eventually, owners will return to owning and players to playing ... all of them for as much money as they can squeeze out of the sport and each other.

Only then will fantasy and reality intersect at Halas Hall and those rented tuxedos have a wedding, uh, game to attend.