The NFL is getting back to work.
And it's doing so a lot sooner rather than later.
The NFL on Thursday announced that the seven-week lockout will end Friday at 8 a.m. when the following eight steps will become effective:
1.Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club.
2.Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players.
3.Coaches may meet with players to discuss any materials distributed to players under item 2 above, as well as the off-season workout program, mini-camps, Organized Team Activities ("OTAs"), and other similar matters.
4.Voluntary off-season workout programs, including OTAs and classroom instruction, may begin.
5.On days during which no official off-season workouts or OTAs are scheduled under item 4, nothing shall prevent the club from permitting any player to use the club facility to work out on his own on a voluntary, unpaid basis during normal business hours.
6.Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules . . . of the 2006 CBA.
7.The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs.
8.Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events.
According to the league, teams may 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 league also told teams that it will distribute to all teams – likely Friday -- "a comprehensive set of procedures" for the start of the 2011 League year, free agent signings and other "customary player transactions."
Further details are expected pending the league's request for a stay from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.