Legendary senior writer jclombardi reports judge rules ending NFL lockout.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson has granted NFL players their motion for a preliminary injunction: therefore lifting the lockout that was imposed by owners on March 11, league and union sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Mortensen. Neither side had an official reaction, pending the official posting by Judge Nelson but NFL is expected to immediately request a stay of the ruling until it can make its arguments before the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. A judicial assistant for Judge Nelson, whose chambers are in St. Paul, declined comment on whether the judge has enjoined the lockout, according to the sources. The NFL is expected to release a statement shortly after Judge Nelson’s ruling is posted. The immediate impact of the ruling on the status of an estimated 500 free agent players and other player transactions is uncertain. If the league does not get the court to stay the ruling pending an appeal, the league will have to open its doors for players. The NFL also will have to decide whether to impose a similar system that has been in place under the previous collective bargaining agreement that expired on March 11.