NFL: Gatlin awaits end of lockout, Arndt says he's through

FARGO - If the NFL lockout ends next Thursday, as has been rumored, then Josh Gatlin would like nothing better than to jump on a plane on Friday for a team to be determined.

FARGO - If the NFL lockout ends next Thursday, as has been rumored, then Josh Gatlin would like nothing better than to jump on a plane on Friday for a team to be determined.

The former North Dakota State cornerback knows time is of the essence. Once a sure bet to be signed as a free agent last spring, the work stoppage has taken valuable time away from players like Gatlin.

Meanwhile, former Bison offensive tackle Michael Arndt has decided against the free agent possibility and is currently in a highway patrol academy. Arndt and his wife had their second child two weeks ago.

"I would have loved to have the shot, but I felt it was best for me and my family to go this route," he said. "Health insurance is nice. You just can't sit around and do nothing."

In essence, the lockout cost Arndt his NFL chance. It could hurt Gatlin's chances, too.


"Sometimes you think about that," Gatlin said. "I just look at the fact it's going to be harder for most free agents and rookies to try and make a team because of the time matter."

Gatlin has been working out at NDSU this summer with former Bison wide receiver Gary Williams, doing mainly speed and agility drills. The 6-foot, 194-pound cornerback impressed scouts with his performance in the Texas vs. Nation all-star game and his pro day performance that featured a 4.39-second 60-yard dash.

Normally, the NFL draft is followed by a rush in signing of free agents, but that was halted because of the dispute. That meant no "OTA," or Organized Team Activities that give players the chance to work out with NFL teams over the summer.

It also eliminated free agent camps that give rookies a chance to make an immediate impression without veterans around. Now, it's possible every player will come to camp at the same time.

"That's the thing, that's what all rookies are probably thinking right now," Gatlin said. "You can't sit back and not even make one mistake."

Gatlin said he's been closely following the negotiations between the players and owners. He stays in touch with his agent - Ian Rubel of Pinnacle Management in New York - on any news he should know.

"I'm always looking at ESPN," he said.

But the longer the dispute drags on, putting pre-season games in danger, the harder it could be for untested players to get a chance.


It's a chance Arndt probably would have had any other year.

"I didn't know how long I could sit there and work out and not be productive," he said. "The opportunity is pretty limited for guys that do try."

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found


Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
What To Read Next
Get Local