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NFL Lockout is over...kinda...sorta...maybe

As you've heard by now Judge Susan Nelson granted the players' request for an injunction to lift the NFL lockout. But don't start counting the list of free agents yet, a lot has to happen, not the least of which is an appeal by NFL owners to the 8th circuit court and the possibility of a stay in lifting the lockout while an appeal is heard. 

Right now, confusion reigns. The NFL will seek a stay while the decision is appealed. All 32 teams will continue to operate, according to the league, as though the lockout were still in effect. Owners will request an expedited appeal in order to have matter dealt with in enough time to proceed accordingly. I understand the league's point here, even in as much as I don't generally side with their position on the lockout. On the chance that Nelson's decision gets overturned, opening the league year right now has the potential to create utter chaos. Besides, there aren't any rules in place to govern how the league would work without a Collective Bargaining Agreement. It's presumed that the NFL will revert to the capless 2010 rules (which would likely invite further antitrust accusations from players), but no decision has been made. 

The first real test of wills comes tomorrow as players under contract report to team facilities. Partly, players are doing this as a means of showing their intention and desire to play. There's also the little matter of offseason workout bonuses, no small matter in the case of some players who are being advised by their agents to show up at work tomorrow, or attempt to, to get some potential legal standing in any claim on those bonuses...or to make a claim to collect them outright. Stay tuned to see what happens when players do try to show up.

Though most coaches have towed the party line during the lockout, there have been rumblings. Even St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo revealed his frustration with the lockout rules in trying to get Rams players to pitch in to help victims of Easter weekend tornadoes that ripped through the area. Now, reports are surfacing that some coaches have already made contact with players. Could Josh McDaniels have been one of them? Let's hope so. It'd be a great loophole in this mess to take advantage of. 

Stay tuned...plenty more will happen in the next 12 hours and beyond.