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Lockout ended, but NFL labor woes far from over

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POSTED: April 27, 2011 10:18 a.m.

MINNEAPOLIS  — The NFL is a long way from playing football.
One confusing day after a federal judge ended a 45-day lockout, small groups of players showed up at team facilities Tuesday and were let inside but told they would not be allowed to work out. Most left in a matter of minutes on a strange day with more questions than answers. The judge said she will take at least another day to consider whether she should put her order on hold.
The league said players should be “treated with courtesy and respect” if they show up. But the NFL said it needs “a few days to sort this out” before “football activities” can take place.
League operations were left in limbo for at least another day, too. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson said she wouldn’t rule on the NFL’s request for a stay of her order until at least today, so she can hear from players — even as attorneys for the players asked her for clarification of her order.
Little was clear as both sides essentially made up the rules as they went along.
“It’s very chaotic for the teams right now,” agent Drew Rosenhaus said. “It’s not chaotic for the players. Our position is the lockout is over, free agency should begin, signings should begin, offseason workouts should begin, everything should be going on. The longer the NFL doesn’t do that and drags this out, the more there are concerns of collusion and violations of antitrust laws.”
Cleveland Browns players Josh Cribbs, Ben Watson and Reggie Hodges arrived at the team’s training facility and were greeted by Lew Merletti, senior vice president and director of security. Merletti handed them an official letter.
“It basically told us to be patient,” Cribbs said. “It let us know we can’t go upstairs and can’t have any personal contact with coaches or staff. It was kind of awkward because we don’t talk to our security staff unless there is a security issue, so the security issue was us.”
Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin was turned away at the security gate, told to expect a call from his coach for clarity on when he could return.
“If I said I wasn’t expecting it, I’d be lying to you,” Bills teammate George Wilson said. “There’s all kind of ways around and loopholes.”
Washington Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander were met by general manager Bruce Allen and told they could come in but not work out. Both left after a few minutes.

 

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