As quickly as NFL players began to return to their training complexes and open the pages of their 2011 play books, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in St. Louis, issued an “administrative stay” of Judge Susan Nelson’s April 26th order, which means the NFL lockout is back. Judge Nelson’s ruling struck down the lockout as causing “irreparable harm” to the players. The two judges on the Eighth Circuit’s three-judge panel who voted for the administrative stay merely stated, “The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for a stay pending appeal.” (See the Order for the Administrative Stay).

As the battle continues in the courts, the period of no-player signings, no-trades, no-workouts and no-contact between players and coaches persists.

The next opinion from the Eighth Circuit panel, consisting of Judges Duane Barton, Kermit Bye and Steven Colloton, will be on whether or not to grant the NFL a more permanent stay pending the appeal on the legality of the lockout. We expect the decision within the next few days.

Meanwhile, the appeals court has agreed to fast track the NFL’s request to rule on the legality of its labor lockout. The Court has set a June 3rd hearing date. The league’s arguments will be led by David Boies, while Ted Olsen will make the oral presentation on behalf of the players. Under the appeals schedule, the NFL’s opening brief is due on May 9th, the player’s response must be filed by May 20th,  and the NFL’s reply to the players’ response is due May 26th.

 We’ll keep you posted.