The NFL has moved one step closer to resuming business operations Thursday, when it sent a memo to all 32 teams advising them on how to proceed during this uncertain time.
Teams will be permitted to contact their players at 8 a.m. on Friday to advise them of the hours their facilities will be open for workouts, schedule medical and rehabilitation activities and arrange meetings with coaches for film study and classroom work.
However, this is all contingent on the NFL’s request for a stay through the Eighth Circuit. If the stay is granted, the league will again halt all activities, and the lockout will remain in effect.
The NFL also expects to make an announcement Friday about the start date of the 2011 league year, which will give teams the ability to make trades and negotiate with free agents.
As of Friday morning, teams can announce the schedules of voluntary offseason workout programs, organized team activities and minicamps. Coaches can also distribute playbooks and game film to prepare players for practices and games. Players can use the facilities for their own private use, too, provided they’ve got an insurance policy in place.
If the Eighth Circuit denies the NFL’s request for a stay — which could conceivably happen at any moment in time — the NFL offseason programs will continue throughout the league’s appeal process of the lockout injunction.
And with that, NFL players, coaches and fans can rejoice.