CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Friday was an historic day on the NFL's labor front, as the Eighth Circuit of Appeals heard the owners' plea to keep the lockout intact.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is one of 10 players named on the lawsuit against the league, has long since understood the significance of this prolonged situation. Brady put his name on the lawsuit to act as a leader among his peers, and he said he also had the future of the game in mind.

"The players, we all stick together," Brady said at his Best Buddies charity football game at Harvard. "We realize how important each one of us are to each other. A lot of guys really care about the game. The guys that have been around for a while understand what it takes for us to grow the league, to be a part of the business of the NFL, to be great representatives for the NFL and to leave the NFL in better shape than when we came into it."

The ruling on the injunction appeal will take weeks — as few as two or as many as six, if not more in a worst-case scenario for all involved — but that might not be the end-all, be-all for the fate of the lockout after all. Representatives from each side met this week, and all indications point to them trying to reach a settlement. Bottom line, when it comes to the 2011 regular season, this has been the most promising news on the labor front in months.

Brady knew that, and he was optimistic Friday about the outcome. Granted, nearly everyone from the players and owners has preached a positive outlook throughout the process, but Brady's message helped keep that momentum rolling in the right direction.

"There has been a lot of positive news from both sides," Brady said. "Everyone is working hard for a great outcome. I'm confident that a lot of reasonable people will come to a very reasonable agreement. Everyone is just dealing with it. The players are dealing with it as best we know how and the owners are. Like I said, hopefully there is a great outcome. I'm relatively confident that there will be."