Seahawks players still can't get into team building
Deon Butler, other Seahawks were not allowed into team facilities Tuesday morning, even though a judge ended the NFL lockout Monday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — A federal judge moved to end the NFL lockout Monday night.
That didn't mean the door was necessarily open for Seahawks players Tuesday morning.
Wide receiver Deon Butler arrived at the team's facility Tuesday along with a teammate. Butler said he was allowed inside the security gate for the players' parking lot, but not into the building.
Butler spoke with a member of Seahawks security, and was told there was no access to the weight room or to the trainers for any treatment or rehabilitation. He left without entering the building. Same for cornerback Roy Lewis, who also went to the facility but didn't get inside.
Running back Justin Forsett and linebacker Anthony Heygood — who spent last season on injured reserve — each indicated via Twitter they didn't go inside.
Some players around the league actually made it inside team headquarters but were told they couldn't participate in "football activities." Some teams allowed players to work out. Some, like the Seahawks, didn't let players inside at all.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider declined to comment Tuesday afternoon when asked about the situation with Seattle players under contract.
"I just can't comment on it right now," Schneider said. "It's just not something we can discuss."
So lockout has turned into limbo for players and owners.
"It drives me insane, that's what it does," Chicago rookie J'Marcus Webb told The Associated Press after he and a handful of other Bears were told they couldn't use the team's weight room Tuesday. "I'm trying to eat healthy and work out, do my job and right now I'm just stuck at home working out and watching cartoons all day.
"What's up with that? Let me get back to what I do best."
That could take a while. The 2011 season, and the business between 32 teams and their thousands of anxious players, is in a holding pattern. With more court fights and appeals expected, the NFL said it needed "a few days to sort this out" and provide some rules for everyone to follow.
"We are in the process of determining throughout the league as to just how we'll proceed and when we'll open the new year across the league, the new football year," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "We have not done that."
At least the draft will be held this week, even if free agency and personnel swaps are up in the air.
Most players who tried to get into team facilities around the league Tuesday left in a matter of minutes with more questions than answers about where the $9 billion business is headed.
No rules, not yet. Just uncertainty.
In a question-and-answer memo distributed by the NFLPA and obtained by The Associated Press, free agents were told they can contact teams and shop their services, putting pressure on the NFL to set up a free-agency system that complies with antitrust laws.
The document also told players that teams are responsible for care of any football-related injury, meaning it's "safer for players to work out on club property."
Butler suffered a serious broken leg in December, and he hoped to see the team trainer. Without access to any workout facilities, Butler went to the gym in Sammamish where both he and Lewis have been doing their rehabilitation work.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson lifted the 45-day lockout late Monday, but that did nothing to clear this up. The NFL asked her to put her order on hold, and she agreed to weigh the request after the players' response is filed Wednesday.
That means the questions will linger at least another day and if the NFL loses again, it will place its hopes with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
With Nelson's decision pending, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said it was too soon to tell when free agency would begin and which players would be eligible.
"What we need to do is let the dust settle for a day or two and see if the stay is put in place, and then we'll all know more and go from there," Pash said.
Little was clear as both sides seemed to make up the rules as they went along. And the vast majority of players simply stayed away.
"It's very chaotic for the teams right now," agent Drew Rosenhaus said. "It's not chaotic for the players. Our position is the lockout is over, free agency should begin, signings should begin, offseason workouts should begin, everything should be going on. The longer the NFL doesn't do that and drags this out, the more there are concerns of collusion and violations of antitrust laws."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364
The Associated Press
contributed to this article.