The players were granted an injunction to lift the lockout Monday by US District Judge Susan Richard Nelson. with the league planning to file an appeal. Though players around the league have been sporadically showing up at their team’s facilities, so far Arrowhead has remained empty. Rudy Niswanger told Joel Thorman that staying away was part of their plan.
“Our suggestion was to wait until some of this is cleared up. We wanted to give the Chiefs time to decide how the situation would be handled before we showed up and put a trainer, manager, or coach in an awkward situation they were not prepared for. Guys have a right by court order to enter the facility so it us up to them as individuals what they do. I don’t know if anyone will show up, but our recommendation was to give it some time.”
Brian Waters, a big part of negotiations throughout this process, talked about the players new found leverage with The Star.
“We’re excited, but we’re not overly excited. We were confident this would be the ruling. We have to let the process continue on its course before we know exactly what’s going to happen. This has nothing to do with settlement conversations or negotiations.”
The NFL is free to set rules for free agency if it is forced to begin the offseason while its appeal is being heard. Last year, players required six years of service to become an unrestricted free agent.
Waters said he expected an identical set of rules this year.
“We hope they at worst would install last year’s rules because it’s a set of rules we’ve played under before, and it’s not any worse for the players,” he said. “We think that’s what they’ll do. We don’t think they’ll want to risk any more damages or any more scrutiny by making rules harsher than what they’ve already done. That would be the safest route for them to go.”
Just when you think things can’t get any crazier…
Can we just agree that the best thing for both sides is to just officially lift the lockout — without any help from a judge — and play 2011 under the same guidelines as 2010. Everyone can get back to business and negotiations can start up again on a new CBA. If that happens, maybe the two sides can get serious about finding middle ground starting now instead of waiting until the 11th hour.