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NFL players not allowed to train despite lifting of lockout

By Larry Fine

FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - It was not back to business as usual around the NFL on Tuesday despite a federal judge siding with players this week and granting their request for a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout.

A Minnesota judge ordered the National Football League to end a six-week lockout on Monday, saying it was hurting fans as well as the players with the sides yet to agree on how to divvy up more than $9 billion in revenue.

Offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery were among at least half a dozen New York Jets players who were politely turned away after showing up early on Tuesday hoping to use the team's facility.

Ferguson, who has a $750,000 workout bonus in his contract, said he thought his appearance should count toward the bonus even though he did not work out.

"I made every opportunity to avail myself to work out," he told reporters camped out half a mile from the entrance to the Jets camp for a chance to talk with players. "But at this time I wasn't afforded that opportunity."

Cotchery, who had back surgery in February, said he had come to use the cold tub as part of his rehabilitation but was denied the chance to take a plunge.

"I'm a big cold tub guy and I hadn't been in a cold tub in a while," said Cotchery, who has been using a private doctor for his rehab. "I'm disappointed I wasn't able to do that."

The NFL directed clubs to tread carefully with returning players while legal ramifications were sorted out.

"Players are being treated with courtesy and respect at club facilities," the league said in a statement. "We do not believe it is appropriate for football activities to take place until there are further rulings from the court."

Players were met with similar receptions after showing up at team facilities across the league, including in Washington, Carolina and Pittsburgh.

"Some of them have not been allowed in, some allowed in but not allowed to work out," DeMaurice Smith, director of the NFL Players Association, told ESPN radio.

"That the National Football League is allowing this sort of chaos to occur, I'm not sure it's a great day for football."

Smith termed the league's reaction as "petty and small at best."

Jeff Pash, an NFL executive vice president and the league's lead negotiator in the labor dispute, told ESPN radio: "Obviously, a lot is going on in court. "There's a lot that remains to be sorted out."

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue)