This is one going to be on crazy exciting hectic day for the as the NFL is coming to grips with the notion that they have been barred from progressing with their 2011 lockout. The NFL has told players that facilities will be open to them starting Friday and that they may start any voluntary workouts. This is definitely another small victory for the players and definitely another sign that this is a crazy world. What kind of odd workplace setting is it seen as a victory for employees when they can volunteer?
It is not really about that though. What this is about is that the league is moving on and getting ready to start the year. It is important to remember that this is all pending an appeal with the eighth district court on Judge Nelson's ruling. The NFL has also petitioned that same court for a stay on Judge Nelson's ruling, and that judgement could come anytime before next Monday. From what I am seeing the stay being granted is not likely. The appeal however may be leaning towards the owner's desired outcome.
Exactly how and when the league will start its year will be revealed on Friday. Here is what we do know: There will not be any trades involving players in the tonight's first round. There may be trades involving players subsequent rounds. And free agency may or may not begin on Friday. So, hold onto your seats—it could be a wild couple of days. It seems likely that if free agency does begin it will do so under the same rules we saw during the 2010 season.
As for how the players can volunteer their team starting Friday I pulled this quote by the NFL on ESPN:
"Clubs are free to contact players immediately to advise them of the hours that the facility will be open for their use, to schedule medical and rehabilitation activity, and to arrange meetings with coaches or related activity, such as film study or classroom work,"