Some Showed Up For Work (UPDATE)
AP Photo/Donna McWilliam
Publisher
Posted Apr 26, 2011


Mario Manningham, Brandon Jacobs, and Chris Canty visited the Giants' training facilities the day after Judge Susan Nelson lifted the lockout. And Canty even said the Giants allowed him to work out.

Mario Manningham came, he saw, and he went home. But Chris Canty stuck around and was rewarded for his efforts.

He got a workout in, despite the NFL's order that no football business be conducted pending the owners' request for a stay of Judge Susan Nelson's lockout injunction.

The wide receiver was the first Giant to report to work the day after Nelson lifted the NFL lockout. But, like the handful of other players around the league who reported to their training complexes, he was let in, allowed to wander the coachless hallways, and eventually left on his own accord.

Brandon Jacobs arrived later, as did Chris Canty. And Canty, who has a $250,000 workout bonus, later reported that the Giants not only allowed him to work out, but also visit with Tom Coughlin and some assistants.

Canty said the team gave him access because "We're the New York Giants, a class act." He also said he plans to come back as long as the doors were open, and expects that other players will join him if the owners are unsuccessful in staying the injunction Wednesday.

Team spokesman Pat Hanlon tweeted: "In light of last night’s ruling by Judge Nelson, we were directed by the league that if our players showed up at the Timex Performance Center today to treat them with courtesy and respect. That message, which sounds a lot like how we always treat our players, was reinforced to our staff by our ownership. As of now, three Giants players have shown up at Timex today, a number that is understandable given that we are all awaiting further rulings from the court and both the league and the NFLPA have indicated we need time to sort out the meaning of the current status of the litigation."

Teams were ordered by the league to allow players in. But because the owners maintain the league year has not started yet, pending their request for a stay of Nelson's injunction pending appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, most of the rest of the league's weight rooms, training rooms, and other areas remained closed to the players. Other coaches were not allowed to have contact with the players, and executives were not allowed to engage the players in contract negotiations even though Nelson's ruling opened the door for such talks to take place.

For example, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore, Jerricho Cotchery, Bart Scott, Mike DeVito, and David Harris showed up at the Jets' complex, and were not allowed any use of their facilities. That prompted Canty to throw a barb at their stadium partners.

"Okay," Canty said. "But this is the New York Football Giants, though, not the Jets."

The Giants do appear to have broken with the other owners on this one issue.

The owners immediately filed with Nelson for a stay, and Nelson gave the players until 9 a.m. CST Wednesday to answer. She may take several days to decide whether to put her decision on hold until the appeals court rules.

On the flip side of the legal wrangling, the players asked the judge to force the owners to start the league year immediately and begin free agency. Nelson gave the owners until 5 p.m. CST Wednesday to respond.

But even if Nelson again rules for the players, it will not result in free agency or contract talks resuming before the draft. An NFL spokesman said the league will "need a few days" to sort everything out and to decide on which rules the league will use regarding player movement and free agency. The final result could look a lot like the 2010 rules, which did not include a salary cap, but put unrestricted free agency at six years rather than four years.

On its surface, the players reporting was simply another form of posturing -- a sign to the court that they were ready and willing to get to work. Also, with many being due roster and workout bonuses, their appearance gave their agents grounds to demand their presence counted toward the stipulations of their bonus clauses.

Legal chaos, truly. But little change in the overall picture. That, of course, could change by the end of business Wednesday.



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