With the NFL’s request for a stay denied by a lower court ruling this week, that ended the lockout, the request will move onto the Eighth Circuit Court. If the request for a stay is denied, the lockout may end as soon as next week, marking a new league year; if it is granted, the lockout as we’ve known it will return in full.
In the mean time, the league has relaxed its rules concerning players’ access to team facilities and contact with coaches, as outlined in a league-wide memo sent out on Friday.
Among the more salient points, per the Dallas Morning News:
--Players will be permitted to use team facilities for physical examinations and rehab, particularly important for players returning from injury, such as Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant, who missed six games last season after suffering a fractured ankle.
--Teams can distribute playbooks, game film, etc., to players, and coaches may discuss such material with players. This will be particularly important for Dallas, as new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan attempts to install his defense.
--Voluntary offseason workouts may begin. These workouts will count toward workout bonuses, where applicable (e.g., DeMarcus Ware will receive a $500,000 bonus if he attends 90 percent of the team’s offseason workouts).
--Players will be permitted to use team facilities, unsupervised by staff members, on days when no workouts are scheduled, during normal business hours.
--Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin.
--Players may participate in league- and club-sponsored charitable events.
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