It’s July, and we’re in the middle of the slowest sports day in the entire sports calendar.

Not only is it the NBA offseason, but David Stern and the gang have decided to be just as cool as the NFL and have their own lockout. The NHL is also in the middle of its down time, and the British Open doesn’t tee off until tomorrow. And while GLS enjoys the romantic game of baseball, darkness has even descended on the ball diamond now that we’ve reached the third day of the MLB all-star break, a day highlighted by nothing.

Football fans begin looking forward to the next season once the last one ends, but this is usually the day when that feverish anticipation kicks into a gear higher than the highest gear. There are no other sports to distract us from our pigskin addiction–unless you’re one of the 11 people who care about the Tour de France–and in a normal offseason training camp would be just a few weeks away.

The organization formerly known as the NFLPA would like you to know that they’re yearning for these times too.

Represented by the usual trio of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees, the players issued a statement this morning on the NFL Lockout Twitter account. They advocated for the current proposal the players have on the table during lockout negotiations, and assured us that they do in fact want to play football.

“We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done. This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way.”

After two days with only the men in suits who are paid to represent the men in suits present, actual voices who can impact this stalemate that may or may not be set to end very soon returned to the table today.

We’ve been riding that roller coaster between optimism and pessimism so much lately that it’s not even exciting anymore. At first it was like that crazy Vegas Stratosphere ride, and now it’s just a yawn-inducing Scramber that was cool until we turned 12.

Statements like the one above from the players mean little beyond being merely another round of the rhetoric we’ve heard so many times. It gets the roller coaster moving on that initial climb again, giving us optimism.

Now let’s see if it comes crashing down.

UPDATE: Predictably, the NFL issued a statement responding to the words of Brady, Manning, and Brees.

From league spokesman Greg Aiello:

“We share the view that now is the time to reach an agreement so we can all get back to football and a full 2011 season. We are working hard with the players’ negotiating team every day to complete an agreement as soon as possible.”

That sound you heard was the optimism roller coaster climbing even higher. Both sides are prepared to work together, which is clearly encouraging. But by issuing these statements they’ll share the intense public scorn if talks fall apart and a deal isn’t completed.