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Appeals court puts order lifting lockout on hold

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - A federal appeals court threw the NFL back into chaos Friday evening, granting the NFL's request to put the lockout back in place. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St.Louis granted the league's bid for a temporary stay of a judge's order lifting the lockout so arguments can be heard on whether that order should be overturned altogether.

A federal appeals court threw the NFL back into chaos late Friday, putting a judge's order lifting the lockout on hold.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis granted the league's request for a temporary stay of the injunction issued Monday that ended the 45-day lockout. Now arguments will be heard on whether that order should be overturned altogether.

The decision came as the second round of the NFL draft was getting under way, and it came on the very day players were allowed to return to their teams' facilities. Dozens if not hundreds of
players happily met with coaches, worked out and got a peek at their playbooks for the first time.

Will teams lock their doors again? That wasn't clear late Friday.

"Our attorneys will review the decision, and we will advise the clubs as soon as possible on the next steps," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Some teams already were operating under the assumption that the lockout would be reinstated. The Vikings spent all Friday trying to get their first-round draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder, up to speed.

"When it was not a lockout, they were allowed to spend time here to get (playbooks)," vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said. "Now that the lockout's back in, he'll probably be leaving here shortly."

New Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak said he was disappointed. "As coaches we just want to get to work and get the players in the building and get going forward. Today was a positive day in that regard," he said. "It was nice having the guys in and being able to see some of the guys who are in town."

Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards, scheduled to become a free agent, put it simply on Twitter: "Looks like we're unemployed again."

The 2-1 decision from a panel of the 8th Circuit was issued by Judges Steven Colloton, Kermit Bye and Duane Benton. It included a lengthy dissent from Bye, who suggested temporary stays should be issued only in emergencies.

"The NFL has not persuaded me this is the type of emergency situation which justifies the grant of a temporary stay of the district court's order pending our decision on a motion for a stay
itself," Bye wrote. "If we ultimately grant the motion for a stay, the NFL can easily re-establish its lockout."

Bye also said the league hadn't shown proof it would suffer irreparable harm without a lockout in place and had asked for the stay so it wouldn't be forced to run its $9 billion business without a collective bargaining agreement in place.

he ruling was the first victory for the NFL in the bitter labor fight. It came from a venue considered more conservative and favorable to businesses than the federal courts in Minnesota, where the collective bargaining system was established in the early 1990s and judges have generally favored players over the NFL.

Jim Quinn, the lead attorney for the players, downplayed Friday's order. "Routine grant of stay and totally expected," he said. "The only surprise is that Judge Bye is so strongly against giving them even a tiny stay because the league obviously can't show it is necessary."

With reporting from ABC7's Tim Brant.

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