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Attorneys for the players had argued against a stay of Nelson’s order, suggesting that the public and the players, with their short careers, are at far more risk when the business is stalled.

“Professional football is part of the fabric of American life,” the attorneys wrote. “Because the uncontroverted record of evidence shows that the 2011 season could be canceled or significantly curtailed without an injunction in place, a stay may deprive the public of professional football altogether.”

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said teams had no choice by to “go with the flow.”:

“We’ll just go with what the league is telling us,” he said. “It was good to see the players today, great to see some of those guys, and wish it would have lasted a little longer.”

The lockout has hurt teams such as the Browns, preventing new coach Pat Shurmur and his staff from talking with players for the first time. He met with a handful on Friday before the bad news.

“Because we were allowed to talk and communicate with our players,” he said, “we felt like it was a good few hours.”


AP Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writers Dennis Waszak, Bob Baum, Tom Canavan, Joe Kay, Stephen Hawkins, Janie McCauley, Dennis Waszak, Tom Withers, John Wawrow, Mike Cranston, R.B. Fallstrom, Mark Long and Joseph White and freelancer Warren Mayes in St. Louis contributed to this report.