Imagine the Redskins having to release some of their best special-teams players. Imagine them suddenly having to cut their squad to 30 players two weeks after training camp opened. Imagined the NFL bowing down to somebody named Michael Trope.

In truth, it is possible to imagine almost anything vaguely rational about the future of the NFL because no one -- not the players or owners or even commissioner Pete Rozell -- has a solid notion about where the league is going. Everyone has a direction in which he would like to see the NFL move, though. 'Tis the season for ideas.

The movers and shakers in the NFL are scurrying about in various stages of confusion because the basic rules of their business -- how they get their players and how long they keep them -- no longer exist, and solutions to reorder the game have failed for nearly three years.

It has been that long since the bargaining agreement between players and[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] and each has stubbornly[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] ificant matters that would produce a[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] Rozelle said in his annual press conference before the Super Bowl today: "I can't honestly say there's been any progress."

The issue that most concerns everyone within the sport is the draft, the orderly selection of collegiate players a judge has declared illegal but also a proper area for collective bargaining.

But who will yield -- and how much?

On one side, the players have various court decisions and the threat of a strike as weapons against the owners.

On the other side, the owners have a large stick in the annual contribution to the player pension fund. The central point is how much money the players will accept for less-than-total freedom of movement.

Rozelle said today if any team signed a college player before the league decides what to do about the draft, he would void that contract.

"I would disapprove any contract because that's the way our constitution reads," Rozelle said. I feel the draft is necessary in professional sports.

But Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, went so far as to say. "We can operate without a draft but not as we know the game."

Hunt has been pushing for reduced squad sizes for sometime anyway and[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] five under this season's limit -- would be fantastic."

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] 1000 yards with one[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] 1000 yards for another,[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] than his talents help[WORDS ILLEGIBLE]

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] leaping into the un[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] large splash because he[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] Ricky Bell and several[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] would be high on the draft[WORDS ILLEGIBLE]

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] club have 45 days to sign[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] failed as many as five clubs of[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] choice from each conference could[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] If one of these 10 clubs[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] the original club to have drafted[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] 24 hours to match that offer[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] athlete.

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] 45 days, the player failed to reach[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] with any of the 10 clubs, the rights[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] back to the original drafting[WORDS ILLEGIBLE]

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] could be observed today was[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] longer towers over the commission[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] major sports, as he once did. At[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] he is in fact, slipping behind the[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] commissioner Larry O'Brien.

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] O'Brien managed to bring peace[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] enlightened agreement between[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] owners after a long and loud feud.

[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] push both sides together," Rozelle[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] point today. "But so far they haven't[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] enough to push."