In a memo released Thursday hours before the draft, the NFL said players could meet with coaches, resume voluntary workouts at team facilities and go over playbooks.
New terms for signing free agents, trade, and other roster moves have not yet been announced.
The NFL said it will distribute a “comprehensive set of procedures governing such transactions” — likely on Friday. This memo will include the timing for the start of the 2012 season.
Although the issue is not yet solved, this is a huge step in the process. Things could still change depending on how the league fares in court. It is currently asking a federal appeals court to put the lockout back in place. If the NFL wins in appeals court, all of this could be reversed.
Quotes from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:
“We — just moments ago — notified our clubs that we think it’s appropriate under the circumstances to take additional steps in response to the injunction,” Aiello said. “So the facilities will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. Eastern time. In the meantime, clubs are free immediately to start contacting players and let them know when the facilities will be open for use.”
“Judge Nelson said it was up to us to determine how to proceed, and we think in light of the fact that the first round of the draft is tonight, clubs are fully focused on that,” Aiello said. “The best way to proceed is for the veterans to start working out at facilities tomorrow, and then we’ll set up the process of starting the league year, which would include player trades and player signings. . . . No player transactions until we start the league year.”