NFL tells Falcons to resume business on Friday

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has to open back up the facilities tomorrow at 8 a.m.  (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has to open back up the facilities tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The National Football League notified the 32 teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, on Thursday that they can resume business operations starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

The league, embroiled in a bitter labor dispute with the NFLPA, was forced to lift the lockout after Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled in favor of the players, granting a preliminary injunction on Monday. She denied the league’s motion to stay her decision on Wednesday.

While the league plans to exhaust its legal moves by requesting that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals grant a stay of the preliminary injunction while waiting to hear their motion for an appeal, they are going to comply with the Nelson’s order to lift the lockout.

“Pending further guidance from the Eighth Circuit, we believe it is appropriate for clubs to take additional steps in response to the preliminary injunction,” The league wrote in a statement.

The teams are now free to contact players immediately to advise them of the hours that the facility will be open, to schedule medical and rehabilitation activity, and to arrange meetings with coaches or related activity, such as film study or classroom work.

This is important for Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who is recovering from two knee operations. Also, safety Shann Schillinger is recovering from a fractured ankle and wide receiver Kerry Meier is rehabilitating from knee surgery.

The league’s statement on post-Injunction operations clarified several points:

1.    Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club.

2.    Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players.

3.                Coaches may meet with players for the purpose of discussing any materials distributed to players under item 2 above, as well as the club’s off-season workout program, its schedule of mini-camps, Organized Team Activities (“OTAs”), and other similar matters.

4.    Voluntary off-season workout programs, including OTAs and classroom instruction, may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXV of the 2006 CBA and Appendix L.  Participating players will be paid $130 per day, provided the player fulfills the club’s reasonable off-season workout requirements.  Such workouts will count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.

5.    On days during which no official off-season workouts or OTAs are scheduled under item 4 above, nothing shall prevent the club from permitting any player to use the club facility to work out on his own on a voluntary, unpaid basis during normal business hours, or such other hours as may be set by the club, provided: (i) there is no participation or supervision by any coach, trainer or other club personnel; and (ii) the club has first verified that the player has an existing medical insurance policy in place.  Players without such personal coverage should not be permitted to work out at the club facility on an unsupervised basis under this item 5, but may do so under item 4 above.  Unsupervised workouts will not count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.  This item 5 will apply both prior to and after the commencement of the club’s official off-season workout program.

6.    Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXVI of the 2006 CBA.

7.    The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs.  We will advise clubs as to when and on what basis testing will commence.

8.    Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events.

However, the league is still working out the procedures for how player transactions, such as signings, trades or player contracts, terminations, tryouts will be conducted. They hold to distribute those guidelines to the teams by Friday, which will also include the timing for the commencement of the 2011 league year, free agent signings and all other transactions.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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21 comments Add your comment

Falcons Fan 24

April 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

DOL,
If they NFL does allow free agent signings, is there anyone in particular you think the Falcons will target?

Infamous

April 28th, 2011
1:10 pm

Infamous

April 28th, 2011
1:12 pm

If free agency resumes, we should definitely see if Ray Edwards (DE from Minn) fits our scheme and if we can get Carlos Rodgers (CB from WA) for a good price.

Falcons Fan 24

April 28th, 2011
1:15 pm

If the Falcons are considering moving up to get a wide receiver, you would think they have some free agents defensive ends in mind.

Rikus

April 28th, 2011
1:21 pm

Damn, the NFL is doing everything it can to prevent free agency from opening up before the draft is over. Sadly, this means we won’t get to see any player trades occur during the draft. This is disappointing as it limits our flexibility to trade up.

Section 108

April 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

Let’s Go Falcons!!!!! Yeah Cmon!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

Falcons Fan 24 — Carolina DE Charles Johnson and Minnesota WR Sidney Rice could be free agent targets.

Infamous — This is progress. They have to negotiate now. Players can make plays for mini-camp. Falcons mini-camp was May 7 to 9 last year.

Rikus — Looks like no trades tonight. But if everything is in place, don’t see why the trades can’t start tomorrow at 8 a.m.

SimpleDawg

April 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

Hopefully the owners will negotiate in good faith, and will seek a long term settlement that is fair and equitable for all…..

….but I doubt it.

ueeediot

April 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

I have heard of gentlemen’s agreements occuring in the draft process before…such as the SD Chargers will select Eli Manning and then trade him to the NYG.
Could this type of backroom dealing occur again this draft?

falconsrelax

April 28th, 2011
2:42 pm

Its over to me man, players got the one up. And it might stay in their favor. Fact that the judge denied the stay says it all. TIME TO GET A DEAL DONE NOW. Its funny, owners wanted the players in a lockout but still NEGOTIATE A DEAL. Players were like lets still negotiate but don’t lock us out. OWNERS LOCKED THEM OUT…now look at what happened. Came back to haunt them. Owners were making a 4 billion dollar deal behind closed doors if lockout lasted a whole season while players got nothing.

I don’t have any sympathy for the owners. To much shadiness on their part IMO in this whole ordeal.

Mike Jay

April 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

Bah! Owners new their appeals would be rejected. They should have a plan in place so that trades could happne on the first day of the draft. That would have made for a wild night.

Sid

April 28th, 2011
3:20 pm

Mike Jay

April 28th, 2011
2:52 pm
*******************************
No appeals have been rejected at this time.

Falkor

April 28th, 2011
3:37 pm

I believe the Falcons would have signed one of the top Free Agent pass rushers prior to the draft if not for the lockout. It’s a shame b/c that would have given us much more flexibility in the draft. I’d also much rather have a proven NFL player (ex. John Abraham)than an unproven college player (ex. Jamaal Anderson) when it comes to filling our need to rush the passer. The last thing I want to see is another 1st round pick spent on someone who can’t help make a significant impact on our defense right away.

Jeff

April 28th, 2011
4:26 pm

DOL-Better be careful with your retweets, use the &%# buttons or we won’t see you here much longer

buzzer

April 28th, 2011
4:27 pm

Why not just get Sidney Rice? He dam sure can catch. Let go of all WR’s except Roddy and then the cheapest or keep Jenk only if he’ll have reasonable salary to go along with Rice. Id luv to have a Julio or A.J. but not when the defense is still suspect.

buzzer

April 28th, 2011
4:29 pm

Roger Goodell loses a big one. …or did he?

buzzer

April 28th, 2011
4:38 pm

Dimitroff hasn’t won a draft pick since Ryan. How many is that 3,4 drafts? He was supposed to b good at analyzing talent but Hes overlooked several greats including a legacy in Clay Matthews.
Sam Baker,William Moore,Jamal Anderson,Peria Jerry,Harry Douglas?
He maybe good at something but picking drafts is not one of them. Smith and staff are reason enough why that now,we are competing now. I think Rich McCays players may have had a bigger impact on current team.

PMC

April 28th, 2011
4:51 pm

Woo Hoo!! Progress!!!

Troup Dawg

April 28th, 2011
10:33 pm

The CB from the Raiders that’s a free agent, will/should the birds make a run for his services? Is he still a FA? I Can’t spell his last name, but he’s a legit shut down CB.

Infamous

April 28th, 2011
11:22 pm

You cant look at Clay Mathews success on Green Bays team and think he would be as successful on our Falcons team!! Cmon. We dont even run the same basic defensive philosophy. (3-4 vs 4-3)

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