FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Brandon Moore slipped into a tub at the New York Jets facility when a disturbing thought crossed his mind.
What if the NFL’s request to restore the lockout was suddenly granted while he was still there?
“I was on guard whether security was going to come down,” the smiling Jets right guard said, “and tell us that the appeals court ruled in the owners’ favor.”
Turns out, that ruling came several hours after Moore and a handful of his Jets teammates returned to work Friday.
The league cleared the way for some of its basic football operations to begin, five days after a federal judge declared the lockout illegal. But, later in the day, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis granted the owners’ request to temporarily put on hold U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling.
“It would be frustrating,” said Moore, one of the team’s co-player representatives, of the potential of the lockout resuming. “I’m happy here. I want to play football. Hopefully we can continue and get this case settled and get a new agreement and move forward.”
The Jets were doing their best to do that Friday as wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, cornerback Kyle Wilson, long snapper Tanner Purdum and linebackers Bart Scott, David Harris and Joshua Mauga also showed up at the facility.
“As a player, you just take this day by day,” Cotchery said. “Whatever happens in the future, you have to embrace this time now.”
Defensive lineman Mike DeVito was frustrated at the latest news.
“This whole situation is definitely something that I’ve been really trying to pull myself back from and getting excited too much about because of days like this,” he said. “I knew these rulings were coming at some point and they can change like that, and that’s exactly what happened today. I know there are smart people on both sides and I know this will all be resolved at some point. I’m not sure when, but at some point.”
Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets‘ first-round draft pick, made it to the facility and toured the place. He also met the media and posed for pictures with coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
“It’s a dream come true,” the No. 30 overall pick said, who left Temple after his junior season to enter the NFL draft.
“I’m pretty sure the Jets are going to be very pleased,” said his mother, Janice. “He’s going to take it to the next level.”
That’s a good thing because Ryan is excited about having Wilkerson in his defense as a pass-rushing, run-stopping defensive tackle and end. The 6-foot-4 1/2, 305-pound Wilkerson is a local kid from Linden, N.J., who had 9 1/2 sacks last year for the Owls and named the team’s most valuable defensive player.
“I’m just a humble guy, but on the field I’m a totally different person,” he said. “I like to get physical with guys and just dominate.”