Bears players can't work out at Halas
Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould, who served as the team's union player representative before decertification of the NFLPA on March 11, reported to Halas Hall on Tuesday morning but was unable to gain access to the team's workout facilities.
"All you can do if you show up today as a player is to basically tour the facility," Gould told ESPNChicago.com Tuesday morning. "I first went to the training room and all the trainers were there, but they placed a call to [Bears contract negotiator] Cliff Stein, who came downstairs from his office to inform me that I could not work out until clarification comes from the judge's ruling.
I first went to the training room and all the trainers were there, but they placed a call to [Bears contract negotiator] Cliff Stein, who came downstairs from his office to inform me that I could not work out until clarification comes from the judge's ruling.” -- Robbie Gould
"I spoke to both Stein and team president Ted Phillips, and they claimed the reason players won't be able to work out is because of fiscal liability. They just don't want to run the financial risk of anyone getting hurt."
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson on Monday granted the players' request for an injunction to lift the lockout, ending the NFL's work stoppage in its 45th day. The league subsequently appealed.
"Hopefully we'll get some clarification from the court soon and we'll see what she says," Phillips said. "Then we'll go from there."
Phillips said three players showed up at Halas Hall.
"It was Robbie, Israel Idonije came in, then Matt Toeaina came in," Phillips said. "So Cliff Stein and I just met with them and said until we get some clarification, you know, you're welcome in. But we're not opening the building for business yet. Hopefully we will soon.
"It was a brief conversation, and they did some hellos, then they left."
The NFL issued a statement Tuesday indicating players would not be allowed to work out.
"We are going to proceed in an orderly way that is fair to the teams and players and complies with court orders," the statement read. "Players are being treated with courtesy and respect at club facilities. We do not believe it is appropriate for football activities to take place until there are further rulings from the court. Under the last set of proposals made to the NFLPA, teams wouldn't even be into offseason programs yet. We need a few days to sort this out, as NFLPA attorney Jim Quinn indicated last night."
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Phillips said the situation was not contentious.
"I don't think there are any hard feelings," Phillips said. "It's never been about the team versus the players. We love the players. They're what makes the game great, and we're hoping that as soon as both sides can get a collective bargaining agreement worked out, we'll be able to get back to playing football, which is what both sides want."
Two players interacted with members of the Bears coaching staff on Tuesday. Veteran free-agent defensive tackle Anthony Adams and starting offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb were honored as the 2010 recipients of the Brian Piccolo Award in a ceremony held in the Halas Hall auditorium. After Bears coach Lovie Smith made a few remarks about both players, Webb was introduced by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, while Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli presented Adams to the crowd.
"It was good to just see them," Smith said. "I had a chance to at least see Anthony a few weeks ago [at the Ed Block Courage Award ceremony], but haven't seen J'Marcus at all. I know our guys are working out hard and are anxious to get back to work. But it was good to see them both.
"Normally at this time I'd talk for a little while, and we're going out to the practice field. But as you can see, we don't even have our turf down [on the practice fields] right now, but in time, they'll tell us we can start up. We'll be ready when that day comes."
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright and The Associated Press contributed information to this report.
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