Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway showed up at Winter Park on Thursday morning but was "cordially" informed that he would not be allowed to workout at the facility.
This comes after U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson denied a request by the NFL on Wednesday night for a stay on her decision to end the league's lockout. Technically, that means the lockout should be over (for now).
"I went down to the weight room before I got changed and I didn't know what was going to happen," Greenway said. "The strength coaches were there, just getting there, and they said that they didn't know what we could do. I was called by [vice president of football operations] Rob Brzezinski. He said, 'You can hang out as long as you want and we want you to be around, but we don't know what rules to go under so there's no workouts available today."
According to a tweet from NFL Network reporter Albert Breer, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said teams were informed on Wednesday night that, "they should continue to follow the current rules and practices until otherwise advised by our office."
The representatives for the NFL players certainly feel different and are declaring that the new league year has begun. Meanwhile, the owners are waiting to see if the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will grant them the stay they want during the appeals process. It appears the NFL has no intention of starting free agency or allowing player trades until the 8th Circuit rules.
Greenway didn't try to go to Winter Park on Tuesday, a day after Nelson ruled that the lockout must end, because he already had plans to go workout elsewhere on that day and the decision came later on Monday. (Linebacker Erin Henderson did show up Tuesday and wanted to use the cold tub but was told that wouldn't be possible.)
"Two days ago it was very preliminary and came out of left field, so I didn't really except to go in," Greenway said. "I had my workout elsewhere. Today, I kind of planned on going to use the facility and it just didn't work out obviously. Hopefully, things will shake themselves out here soon."
Greenway wanted to make it clear he wasn't upset about not being allowed to use the weight room and said he ended up spending a half-hour at Winter Park talking to the strength coaches and catching up on what they have been doing. The lockout started March 11 and until Monday night's ruling players were not allowed to visit with coaches and other staff members about football matters.
Greenway did not get a chance to talk to coach Leslie Frazier and the other coaches but that is because the NFL draft begins tonight, so many of those people weren't in the building before 9 this morning.
"I think I could have [gone to talk to the coaches], nobody would have stopped me, but they weren't around because you have the draft and everything else," Greenway said. "They have different hours today. I don't think anybody would have prevented me from coming in and saying hi or whatever. It was fairly dead there this morning because of the draft."
Before the lockout began, the Vikings placed the franchise tag on Greenway. That means he stands to make around $10 million in 2011, provided the one-year deal that comes with the franchise tag holds up. If the NFL is forced to go back to operating under the 2010 collective bargaining agreement when it open its doors, then the franchise tag will be enforced.
"I think we're fairly confident that the franchise tag will stay in place," he said. "We don't obviously have a guarantee that will be the case at all so we don't know what's going to happen. I think we're kind of up in the air really with everybody else. We're all kind of in the wait-and-see approach here."
As for how this labor situation will play out, Greenway said: "Realistically, it's going to be a wait and see, but I'm very optimistic. I want to stay positive about it because obviously we don't want to see our league take any steps backward. Hopefully, we get this thing resolved relatively soon."
At this point, Greenway said he isn't planning to rush back to Winter Park on Friday and rather will wait for some clarity. "I don't want to put anybody in a bad position," he said. "I just want to see how things shake out and hopefully it will be soon."