NFL getting back to business today

OWINGS MILLS -- Barring a rare legal decision going in favor of the NFL, the league is about to officially resume business as soon as this morning. With the lockout halted by a federal judge and a stay request denied while the owners appeal the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court, players are allowed to report to training facilities today at 8 a.m.

That means they can start working out, using the training room for rehabilitation, watch video, talk to coaches and other team officials and they can be given playbooks.

The NFL is slated to make an announcement today about when the league year will formally begin as far as resuming transactions, including contract signings, cuts, tryouts and player trades. The Baltimore Ravens are already planning

offseason minicamps schedules with a 10-day football school expected to launch next week followed by an organized team activity period. "I think that's great to be able to go back to the facility," Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said in a telephone interview from his home in North Carolina. "It's been a long time. It feels like it's been quiet for a while. The offseason is important. This is when you build trust and get everybody focused on one goal. Everybody can see that everybody is working hard and you build camaraderie."

The NFL made the following statements about what will happen next and how teams can conduct business in relation to the players.

"Clubs are free to contact players immediately to advise them of the hours that the facility will be open for their use, to schedule medical and rehabilitation activity, and to arrange meetings with coaches or related activity, such as film study or classroom work," the NFL announced. "Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club. Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players. Coaches may meet with players for the purpose of discussing any materials distributed to players as well as the club's offseason workout program, its schedule of mini-camps, Organized Team Activities and other similar matters.

"Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXVI of the 2006 CBA. The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs. We will advise clubs as to when and on what basis testing will commence. Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events."

Meanwhile, players who take part in the voluntary offseason program will be paid $130 per day. And the workouts will count toward fulfilling workout bonuses contained in some players' contracts.

"I've just been praying we have the season," Ellerbe said. "My agent has been keeping me informed. I've been hoping for the best on our end, whatever the outcome is. I'm a young guy. I just want to play. I wish I had a workout bonus or I'd be there Friday. I'd be on the first thing smoking. I'll be back in town real soon."

NOTE: Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain and Alabama football alum has a heavy heart following the massive tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he went to school.

"People I am good!!" McClain wrote on his Twitter account. "Sad as hell Just pray for my city it's bad down here man, I can believe this. Sad day. People lost their lives. We been trying to help City. Gotta come together. .. R.I.P. to everybody that lost their lives in the tornado."

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