Notes: Owners, players look ready to talk


Andrew Whitworth

In the wake of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis granting NFL owners' request for a permanent stay of a prior ruling halting their lockout Monday, the pundits are tweeting it is a major win for the owners while ESPN is reporting there has been a "breakthrough" in the talks.

The owners have responded to a judge's call for a new proposal and plan to present one and ESPN reported players "are very encouraged" with mediation talks expected to continue Tuesday.  

Unless there is a collective bargaining agreement in the next three weeks, the lockout is in place until the league's appeal of U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson's decision to end the lockout is heard June 3. But with two out of the three judges acknowledging the NFL's reading of the Norris-LaGuardia Act that prohibits injunctions in labor disputes, the sense is the court has tipped its hand on the appeal and is going to uphold the lockout.

That may or may not bring the two sides together with the players looking to get a deal, some analysts say. On Monday the sides resumed court-ordered mediation in Minneapolis with Bengals president Mike Brown on hand with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, executive vice president Jeff Pash and three other owners for the league.

That set the stage for dueling press releases.

Via ProFootballTalk.com the NFL said, "It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans," the NFL said in a statement forwarded to PFT. "This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together through negotiation."

The players' release said: "The NFL's request for a stay of the lockout that was granted today means no football. The players are in mediation and are working to try to save the 2011 season. The court will hear the full appeal on June 3."

WAITING IT OUT: The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that about 20 Bengals are in Monroe, La., Sunday and Monday bonding at left tackle Andrew Whitworth's charity golf tournament. On Tuesday, the paper said, seven offensive linemen are going to work out as they try to piece together offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's new playbook. Whitworth says he's got a playbook, courtesy when the lockout was temporarily lifted for a day on May 1.

Also on hand is second-round pick Andy Dalton and fourth-rounder Clint Boling. It sounds like Boling is one of the linemen that is going to stick around. The paper said right tackle Andre Smith (foot) and guard Jason Shirley (Achilles) are still rehabbing and won't work. Linebacker Rey Maualuga also tweeted he was headed to Monroe.

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» Published reports said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer's Indian Hill home is under contract for $2.1 million.

» Chad Ochocinco is riding the publicity of his bull riding efforts a lot longer than he rode the bull. The Professional Bull Riders said they're giving away the Ford truck The Ocho would have won in a contest that includes Ochocinco's Twitter followers with details to be announced, according to USA Today.

"After watching Chad go through the two-day process, the fact that he got on the back of Deja Blu was impressive," said Sean Gleason, president and COO of the PBR in a news release via the paper. "Following such an inspired effort, the PBR and Ford decided to back up his promise to award the truck to one of his Twitter followers."

Also, The Ocho tweeted Goodell with "if I ride a bull in the endzone you'd fine me a bulligerent amount of money (get it bull-igerent) correct way = belligerent."

» Meanwhile, Peter King of Sports Illustrated said he thinks The Ocho is going to end up a Patriot this year:

"I have only an educated guess, no facts to back up my belief that Chad will end up in New England. I think he's a great fit with Belichick."

The Pats always seem to have plenty of draft picks. They must have an extra fourth rolling around somewhere.

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