Updated 12:15 a.m. ET Saturday, April 30, 2011
Just as players returned to team facilities to work out, get playbooks and meet with coaches on Friday, the lockout returned — temporarily.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL a temporary stay of the lockout injunction. Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver reported early Friday that the players expected the stay, and it would be of the "administrative" variety, meaning the lockout is back in force until Monday at the earliest.
"The clubs have been told that the prior lockout rules are reinstated effective immediately," league spokesman Greg Aiello said.
"The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for a stay pending appeal," the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote.
According to The Associated Press, the 2-1 decision was issued by Judges Steven Colloton, Kermit Bye and Duane Benton. Bye was the dissenter, and he suggested temporary stays should be issued only in emergencies.
"Routine grant of stay and totally expected," said Jim Quinn, the players' attorney. "The only surprise is that Judge Bye is so strongly against giving them even a tiny stay because the league obviously can't show it is necessary."
District Judge Susan Nelson ended the lockout late Monday and denied the league's request for a stay on Wednesday night. The league responded by opening its doors Friday morning and said it would soon announce a timetable for when the league year would start — which is when free agency and player trades would commence. But with a temporary stay, the lockout is back on, and the league doesn't have to open transactions.
The league wants a stay of the lockout until the Eighth Circuit Court hears the case to appeal Judge Nelson's 89-page decision to end the lockout. This is a temporary stay, as the court takes time to decide if the stay should be permanent or not.
Undrafted free agents will not be able to be signed when the draft concludes Saturday night, either.
Players all over the league reported to team facilities on Friday, but will not be able to over the weekend, nor can they collect team playbooks.