NFL lockout is lifted; uncertainty begins

Updated at 9:50 a.m.

While Commissioner Roger Goodell was outlining his vision of an apocalyptic NFL future minus a collective bargaining agreement and others were questioning the league’s legal strategy, the NFL filed an appeal of the ruling that overturned the owners’ lockout of players.

Now what?

Well, it’s murky at best. Players can report to team facilities, although, as of 8:30 a.m. EDT, not many have done so and the ones who did arrive, like Anthony Armstrong (“Theres money to be made and bills to be paid!”) and Lorenzo Alexander (driving a Prius!) — of the Washington Redskins found they were allowed to do very little.

Armstrong’s Monday night tweet sounded a lot like what any worker might say amid the uncertainty.

So.... I guess I should go check on my cubicle tomorrow?less than a minute ago via Plume Favorite Retweet ReplyAnthony Armstrong
MrArmstrong13

“I think every player who’s under contract and is in the Cleveland area should show up at the facility ... and get back to work,” Scott Fujita, Cleveland Browns linebacker and member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, told Yahoo on Monday night. “That’d be awesome. And if the team refuses to let them enter, they’d be held in contempt of court.”

In Owings Mills, Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reports that no Baltimore Ravens players have arrived yet. The gates to facilities everywhere are open (see the New York Giants, via Ralph Vacchiano; Green Bay Packers, via Chris Jenkins; New York Jets, via John Branch; and Philadelphia Eagles, via Jeff McLane).

Jericho Cotchery arrived at the Jets’ facility and told Rich Cimini that he was denied access to the cold tub for his surgically repaired back. He was off to physical therapy. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is among those who will get a roster bonus for offseason workouts.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson just left, says he wanted to work out but couldn’t. Says this should count toward 750k w/o bonus. #Jetsless than a minute ago via txt Favorite Retweet ReplyRich Cimini
RichCimini

Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay, the team’s player rep, was present for about 10 minutes and said only (via Mike Cranston): ”We're just walking through the process.” He declined to say whether he’d advised teammates to show up. “I can't say any more.”

The waiting for clarity drags on and the questions remain. Will the NFL get a stay, which would reinstitute the lockout and the shutdown of the sport? If it is denied a stay, when would free agency begin? Mark Maske says that the league believes the free agent market wouldn't open before a ruling on a stay of the injunction; the players’ side believes the market technically is open, although it apparently will give the NFL time to establish rules.

The biggest issue, though? Will Ed Hochuli show up for the opener, whenever that is, looking like a fat tub of goo?

Question For NFL Experts: With the lockout lifted, what effect does this have on Ed Hochuli’s workouts?less than a minute ago via ÜberSocial Favorite Retweet ReplyEric Stangel
EricStangel

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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