The NFL owners, granted a temporary stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s lockout injunction 47 minutes into Thursday’s first round of the draft, used the off-hand comments of several veterans to bolster their request for a permanent stay.
An 18-page brief filed yesterday to the three-judge panel that granted the temporary stay used quotes by Ray Lewis and Wes Welker as evidence that players would not suffer irreparable harm by a permanent stay while the court rules on the owners’ full appeal of Nelson’s lockout-lifting dictum.
“Let’s do a lockout every year,” Welker was quoted as saying to NationalFootballPost.com.
Speaking to Yardbarker.com, Lewis said: “To me, this is probably the greatest window of opportunity I’ve ever had in my life. It’s been 25 years of my life that I’ve never had a summer to myself.”
The brief also pointed out that Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins, two of the plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL antitrust case that was filed in reaction to the lockout, had not participated in offseason workouts last season without suffering harm.
The league, however, reiterated that free-agent player movement that would start if a stay was not granted would harm the owners by undercutting their unfair labor practice suit before the National Labor Relations Board. The players later responded that the NFL has operated without a collective bargaining agreement before without suffering harm.
The panel could render its decision soon, though the owners can appeal that to the full 11-judge court.