NFL Teams To Resume Operations Tomorrow, Barring Temporary Stay
The NFL will reopen team facilities to players tomorrow at 8:00am ET and begin the process of implementing free agency, unless a three-judge panel in St. Louis this afternoon issues a temporary stay of a judge’s order to lift the lockout. Backed into a corner by a series of rulings from U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson, the NFL, facing possible contempt charges brought by the players, finally agreed to lift the lockout. However, it is possible the 8th Circuit, which is hearing the appeal of Nelson’s decision to lift the lockout, could temporarily put it back in place before tomorrow morning.
If the 8th Circuit does not reinstate the lockout, the NFL today said players are allowed to use team facilities where teams can give playbooks, game film and other materials to players; coaches may meet with players for some football related purposes; voluntary and mandatory workout programs such as minicamps, rookie camps and organized team activities may commence subject to rules in the previous CBA; and league counseling programs for substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs resume. The league would also shortly after distribute rules for free agency.
The appeals court did set a schedule for briefing for the permanent stay the league is seeking. The players must submit a brief by tomorrow at 1:00pm to the appeals court, and the league by 10:00am Monday.