Judge Susan Nelson has made it as clear as she possibly can: the lockout is over. NFL owners don’t seem to agree. It’s one thing to delay the enactment of transactions (signing free agents, making trades, etc.); it’s another to continue keeping the doors locked.
That, however, was the case in some NFL cities Thursday morning. According to the Washington Post , Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, defensive end Vonnie Holliday and center Casey Rabach showed up at the team’s facility Thursday, only to be turned away.
“The doors are still closed and as I understand it, they will remain closed until the appeals process is completed,” Holliday said. “The courts made a ruling, and you would think that would carry more weight. Guys wanted to get back to work, resume getting physical therapy at the facility and train with our strength coaches, but the doors are still locked. It’s unfortunate that they’re choosing to handle it this way.”
Given Nelson’s orders Wednesday night, keeping players out borders on owners being in contempt of the court. It would be somewhat surprising if all 32 teams choose to keep their facilities locked on Thursday, as that could spark legitimate accusations of collusion (and anger the courts). Having some teams welcome players and other teams turn them away only adds to the chaos, which, at this point, plays to the owners’ argument that they can’t possibly do business without knowing how the Eight Circuit will rule.
UPDATE 11:21 a.m. EST: A fourth team has been reported as keeping their doors locked. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean tweets that the Titans turned away quarterback Rusty Smith on Thursday.
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