In a normal offseason, right about now we’re usually re-working our mock drafts for the seventh time, and obsessing over a night of pageantry in late April. On this glorious draft night, the blending of football’s two juggernaut leagues–the NFL and college football–creates a beautiful recipe for obsession at a time when we’re four months away from seeing a meaningful snap.

Wait, we’re still deep in our draft-induced rapid eye movement, so at least in that sense this offseason is normal. But nothing else is, and thanks to the lockout we still haven’t had free agency, or the list of notable trades that usually provide a brief gulp of football to quench our thirst. Almost exactly one year ago Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington, and on April 15 Brandon Marshall was shipped to Miami.

Mark Murphy wants you to lay that weary, worried head to rest. Everything is going to be alright, and NFL football will return in September after Labour Day in its usual Thursday night kickoff time slot.

The Green Bay Packers president sent a letter to season ticket holders, laying out the owners’ position during the ongoing labour battle. But after getting the boring and depressing information out of the way, Murphy relayed his sense of optimism. The defending champions are always featured in the league’s Thursday night kickoff game, and Murphy feels confident that an agreement will be reached to save the 2011 season without losing any games, including Green Bay’s opener.

“We appreciate your continued support of the Packers, and I look forward to seeing you back at Lambeau Field this fall for another thrilling season. As defending champions, we’re especially excited to host the NFL’s season opener Thursday night, September 8. We have some tough issues to resolve between now and then, but I’m confident that we will be able to find a resolution that works for the players, owners and fans.”

What else did you expect Murphy to say?

At a time when no one around the NFL–owners, players, coaches, fans, bloggers with sweaty palms–has been given much reason for optimism since the lockout officially started 25 days ago, any glimmer of hope is more than welcome. Less than 24 hours until Brady v. NFL begins and this fight officially moves from negotiation to litigation, anything but hope coming from Murphy would be an example of what not to do for first-year public relations students everywhere.

The reality isn’t necessarily dark or sunny at this point; it’s overcast, with a chance of afternoon showers. Tomorrow the two sides meet in federal court, with one side arguing that the league’s lockout is illegal, and the other saying the former union’s move to decertify was a sham. A decision on whether or not to lift the lockout may take a few weeks.

Once that decision comes down we’ll know if we can share in Murphy’s excitement for another “thrilling season,” or if we have to increase preparation efforts for the Mouse Football League.

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