Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Robbie Gould among those to report
By Kevin Seifert
I'm doing my best to monitor NFC North post-lockout happenings Tuesday morning from here at blog headquarters. It appears that a handful of our players have reported to their team's facilities as a matter of labor strategy, knowing full well the NFL has instructed teams to treat them courteously and with respect but to keep weight rooms and other resources off limits.
Many NFL players have scattered to their offseason homes or alternate training sites and wouldn't be in position to report Tuesday morning. A few, however, have made attempts.
Chicago Bears place-kicker Robbie Gould, the team's player representative, tweeted that he reported to Halas Hall on Tuesday morning.
Gould: "Walked into the facility for a workout and was told I couldn't workout until clarification comes from judges ruling. ... Lockout lifted locker room and weight room closed."
Gould told Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com that "all you can do if you show up today as a player is to basically tour the facility." He said Bears contract negotiator Cliff Stein came down from his office and told him he could not work out Tuesday. Players who arrived were being briefed in the team cafeteria.
"I spoke to both Stein and team president Ted Phillips," Gould said, "and they claimed the reason players won't be able to work out is because of fiscal liability. They just don't want to run the financial risk of anyone getting hurt."
Meanwhile, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson tweeted that he planned to report to the Vikings' facility to use their cold tub. Of the NFL's instructions to treat players respectfully, Henderson tweeted: "I'm about to put that 2 test."
Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press has been staking out the Green Bay Packers' player parking lot but has yet to see anyone report. The same goes for the Detroit Lions, according to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Let's be clear about what's happening here Tuesday morning. In wake of Monday's court ruling, it's in the players' best interest to treat this time period as if it is a normal offseason day. It makes sense to put the teams in the awkward and perhaps legally indefensible position of turning them away even after the lockout has been lifted.
And frankly, players are also positioning themselves to qualify for offseason workout bonuses by reporting, some of which are worth $100,000 or more.
This surreal phase will seemingly last at least into Wednesday, when legal briefs are due on the NFL's request for an immediate stay to resume the lockout while it appeals Monday's verdict.