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Seven weeks ago, a labor dispute threatened to push the NFL season to the sidelines. Instead, the goliaths of gridiron made a glorious return this past week, from the last-second goalstand by the Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers to Tom Brady’s second-to-no-other-Patriot’s 517 yards passing. The games also paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks. Though the season is just one week old, fans across the globe are hoping their teams will play in the grand finale next Feb. 5, held for the first time in Indianapolis. -- Lloyd Young
(34 photos total)
Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall (19) dives over New England Patriots Devin McCourty after catching a pass during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Miami Sept. 12. Hans Deryk/Reuters)

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Tom Chase, left, helped his uncle, Richard Filipelli, break down what remained of his home on Cozy Avenue in East Haven, Conn., Monday, after Tropical Storm Irene swept through the region. (Jesse Neider for The Wall Street Journal)


Jonathan Fey paddled his way down Nassau Avenue in Freeport, N.Y., after the storm flooded the neighborhood. (Joel Cairo for The Wall Street Journal)


Pam Young was one of the homeowners left cleaning up Irene’s mess in the Catskill Mountain town of Prattsville, N.Y. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


The streets of Paterson, N.J., were hood-deep in water from the Passaic River as Irene’s rainfall backed up streams and storm drains across much of the state. (Mark Dye/Reuters)


A large queue formed Tuesday morning at Ladurée, the newly opened Upper East Side outpost of the French bakery long lauded for its delicate cookies, jams, sorbets and candles. (Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal )


Emily Season, right, rode her unicycle on the Brooklyn Bridge during a group unicycle ride to Coney Island during the 2011 NYC Unicycle Festival Friday. (Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal)


Members of the National Guard convened at the Lexington Armory in Manhattan Monday to wrap up their work on the tropical storm. The guardsmen massed at several places in the city. (Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal)


Ironworker Gary Russo, also known as the ‘Second Avenue Sinatra,’ sang during his lunch break on East 73rd Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan Wednesday. After weeks at the Upper East Side location, he sang his last lunch concert Thursday before leaving for a new construction site. (Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal)


The Blackberry Bramble is a popular cocktail at Silver Lining, 75 Murray St. in Tribeca. The speakeasy-style cocktail bar is aimed at jazz aficionados. (Lauren Lancaster for The Wall Street Journal)


Felix Camacho slid into third base during the Borough President’s Cup Little League Championship at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The Little League Raiders beat the Rolando Paulino Little League, 9-7, in nine innings. (Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal)


James Fisher, left, released bees to find their queen and a new hive Monday in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn; the swarm’s previous hive fell off of its tree. (Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal)


The Tuna Duo, a dish including tuna tartar and ahi tuna, at Blue Water Seafood in Red Bank, N.J. (Bill Denver for the Wall Street Journal)


A large elm tree on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights was one of many trees brought down by the tropical storm Sunday. (Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal )


A Bronx teen, right, and Mark Colbert, a volunteer with the Stoked Mentoring Program through the non-profit Up2Us, prepared to enter the water for a surfing lesson at Rockaway Beach on Wednesday. (Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal)


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Sen. James Seward comforted Prattsville, N.Y., residents Emily and Richard Morse during a visit to the town on Wednesday. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


County Road 17 northeast of Route 23A in Greene County, New York, was washed out in the storm. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


Darren Renatta and his mother, Beth, investigated the flooding along the East River waterfront as the storm swooped in Sunday morning. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal)


People took part in a game of human chess at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park in Manhattan, as part of the ‘Summer on the Hudson’ events Thursday. (Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal)

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The gates were up, training facilities were open and NFL players went back to work.

Now, they need to get ready for the season in a hurry.

After a lockout that lasted 4½ months ended Monday July 25, 2011 with an agreement between the NFL and its players, teams’ facilities were buzzing with activity. Players all around the league were allowed back in to meet with coaches, work out, take physicals and receive playbooks.

Teams were also allowed to sign their drafted players and undrafted free agents, and negotiate with free agents in what will likely be a flurry of activity unlike what the league has ever seen.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen​ issued a statement Monday afternoon thanking fans for their patience throughout the duration of the lockout. “Although the offseason was unsettling for everyone, this agreement will ensure the continued growth and prosperity of this league well into the future,” said Bowlen, co-chair of the league’s Management Council Executive Committee. “I am thrilled that it is finally time to turn our attention back to the game that all of us love.”

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Cincinnati Bengals safety Rico Murray puts on his helmet at the start of their second practice at NFL football training camp, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Georgetown, Ky. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Employees and volunteers for the Miami Dolphins, including one dressed as former coach Don Shula, stand on a downtown Miami street corner Monday, July 25, 2011. NFL players voted to OK a final deal Monday, days after the owners approved a tentative agreement, and the sides finally managed to put an end to the 4Ë -month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Philadelphia Eagles running back Noel Devine puts his hands up to catch the ball during NFL football training camp at Lehigh University, Friday, July 29, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Detroit Lions punter Nick Harris kicks during practice at NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Gwynne Chapin, foreground right, hands an ice cream cone to Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Bryan Hall (68) from her truck as his teammates wait in line for their orders following NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Houston Texans' Mario Williams cools off during the first day of NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler looks to a throw during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Tennessee Titans wide receiver O. J. Murdock reaches for a pass around a goal post pad during a drill at NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton's gloves cover his eyes while catching a pass during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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An unidentified Miami Dolphins fan waits for the start of NFL football training camp in Miami, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Green Bay Packers' Chastin West (11) and Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson catch balls during NFL football training camp Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) throws during training camp at the Denver Broncos football training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Buffalo Bills fan Joe Hart dressed as "Superfan" walks to an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jorrick Calvin holds on to four balls that he caught as he watches for the next one to during a catching drill at the NFL football team's training camp at Lehigh University on Thursday, July 28, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez wipes his brow while signing autographs after an NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald hangs on to the football during drills during afternoon practice at Cardinals NFL football training camp Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Denver Broncos Knowshon Moreno (27) gets in extra work catching passes from the jugs machine after the morning session at camp August 1, 2011 at Dove Valley. John Leyba, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Tennessee Titans guard Ryan Durand knocks down a blocking dummy during NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. Watching at right is wide receiver Nate Washington (85). (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Unrestricted free agent Nick Barnett wears his Superbowl ring while talking with Buffalo Bills coaches during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Mary Steinkraus, from Germantown, Wis., watches the Cleveland Browns practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Berea, Ohio, Sunday, July 31, 2011. Steinkraus is the aunt of Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Oakland Raiders defensive tackle John Henderson, left, has his helmet adjusted during NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Saturday, July 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn, left, and tackle Derek Hardman, right, work out for the first day in pads during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Kansas City Chiefs fan Natalie Canon, 9, poses for a photograph by a Chiefs mannequin during the team's NFL football training camp in St Joseph, Mo., Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton is all smiles as he stretches with the team during practice. The first day of Bronco's Training camp took place today July 28, 2011 at the team's headquarters at Dove Valley. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Detroit Lions receiver Rashied Davis (82) watches as teammate Stefan Logan, left, walks on his hands during a break in practice at NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Keenan Clayton, left, gets a head butt and an ear full from defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, right, during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) catches a pass during training camp at the Denver Broncos football training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow is mobbed by media after practice. The first day of Bronco's Training camp took place today July 28, 2011 at the team's headquarters at Dove Valley. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt works out during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signs autographs after practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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St. Louis Rams full back Brit Miller participates in a drill during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at the team's training facility in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley removes his cleats after the NFL football team's training camp practice on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Houston Texans wide receiver Jeff Maehl, left, is tripped up by cornerback Antwaun Molden (28) after catching a pass during the first day of their NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Paul Ratliff plays with his son Johnny, 21 months, and Elle, 2, back right, after NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout

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Houston Texans players run to a practice field during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

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