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NFL Lockout Appeal to Be Heard June 3

Aug. 12, 2010: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after New England's 27-24 win in an NFL preseason football game in Foxborough, Mass.AP

ST. LOUIS -- The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Tuesday granted the NFL's request for an expedited hearing, NFL.com reported.

The Eighth Circuit will hear the appeal June 3.

On Friday, the three-judge panel voted 2-1 to grant a temporary stay, reinstating the league-imposed lockout. A federal judge had lifted the lockout last week.

The Eight Circuit in St. Louis has not ruled if it will extend the hold on the lockout, pending the appeals process. A decision on that is likely to be made in the coming days, according to the report.

Should the panel vote to deny the extended stay, the NFL would be forced to reopen its doors to players until the appeals process is concluded. The league also would be forced to begin the league year, opening the door for free-agent signings and trades.

The league has until May 9 to hand in its appeal brief, with the players having until May 20 to issue a reply.

Judge Susan Nelson granted the players' request for an injunction to lift the NFL lockout April 25, ending a 45-day standoff between the league and the players.