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We'll never know, of course, which is probably a good thing. We were also spared scenes of the hardships the lockout imposed on vendors and small businesses in more than two dozen towns, not to mention how low-level employees of various teams took pay cuts (though many of those clubs already have started making back payments). On the plus side, the starved-for-programming sports networks did devote plenty of coverage to Chad Ochocinco's search for an alternate career path -- as a pro soccer player (hardly encouraging) and bull rider (worse). And a Men's Journal interview with Pittsburgh Steelers' tough-guy linebacker James Harrison confirmed he's every bit as reckless away from the field as his flying-around-it playing style suggests.
Still to be determined is whether the same compressed time frame the players have to prepare turns out to be better or worse for the product. Predictions of sloppy play could be offset by the fresher bodies many players dragged to camp, either because of the knocks they missed or the additional time to heal. Either way, their minds should be sharper.
And for those still grousing, "Hard Knocks" will be airing a 10th anniversary special on Aug. 31, featuring outtakes and interviews that didn't make the original shows. If your cursing repertoire still needs work, don't forget to mark the calendar.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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