Redskins watch as NFL labor dispute heads to court

With the hearing on the NFL’s labor dispute taking place today in a Minnesota courtroom, members of the Washington Redskins – as well as every other team in the league, and their fans – watch and wait with a mix of anxiety and hope.

Redskins players are aware that a ruling from U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson isn’t likely to come Wednesday. But they hope that something positive comes out of the session.

“Something. Anything!” offensive lineman Selvish Capers said. “Put us closer to going back to work.”

Said outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, “We’re all anxious to see what happens. I won’t be sitting and watching. I’ll be doing what I have to do to keep getting ready. But I’ll be listening to see what happens for sure. Will there be an injunction? Will she uphold the lockout?”

The Redskins’ offseason conditioning program would have started in mid March, but because of the lockout, players have been working out on their own – most in their hometowns, others near Ashburn. Some NFL teams have begun organizing group workouts, but the Redskins have held off.

Linebacker London Fletcher e-mailed teammates to alert them that they would eventually hold a player-led minicamp at some point this spring. But Alexander said he and teammates are waiting to see what comes of today’s court hearing. If the judge grants a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout, and it is not held up by an appeal, business would resume and offseason conditioning could commence at Redskins Park under the direction of the team’s trainers.

If the lockout is upheld, the Redskins likely would hold their first player-led minicamp about April 19th or 20th. One of the team’s defensive leaders likely would call plays for that side of the ball, and John Beck has let teammates know he’ll be there to run the offense. With Donovan McNabb’s future as a Redskin uncertain, and with Rex Grossman due to become a free agent, Beck likely will be the only quarterback on hand.

“We’re just waiting to see,” Alexander said. “If there’s an injunction, we go back to normal. If not, then we’ll set something up for sure.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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