- Associated Press - Saturday, April 30, 2011

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - Fresh off getting drafted this weekend, NFL rookies are eager to get to work with their new teams, meet their coaches and begin preparing for their first seasons as professionals.

They may have to wait a while.

The labor fight between owners and players threatens to rob this year’s rookie class of precious preparation time in the offseason to get them ready to make the leap from college to the NFL. The lockout prevents rookies from speaking with coaches, picking up playbooks and working out at team headquarters.

Coaches are concerned about having enough time to get the youngsters ready to contribute. That is particularly true for quarterbacks who may step in and play right away, including Cam Newton in Carolina, Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville, Christian Ponder in Minnesota and Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.

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