Only two players -- safety Ryan Clark and quarterback Charlie Batch -- reported for work this morning at the Steelers offices on the South Side after a judge temporarily lifted the lockout ban on National Football League players.
Clark is the team's player representative and Batch is a member of the executive council of the NFL Players Association.
Both players arrived at the team facility at 8 a.m. and were greeted by team president Art Rooney II. Each met briefly with Coach Mike Tomlin and Clark, after being told he couldn't use the locker room or weight room, departed approximately an hour later.
"It was good to be in the building again, good to see the people who help you do so much," Clark said. "It was good to meet my new defensive backs coach, Carnell Lake, and it was awesome to see coach Tomlin."
No other players were seen arriving or departing from the Steelers offices. Clark told the Post-Gazette Monday night he was going to call or text his teammates, urging them to report to work today.
"Honestly, it was tough getting in touch with all the guys," Clark said. "Charlie and I decided to text and call as many as we can. Truth of the matter is, a lot of guys just aren't here. Not many of guys are from Pittsburgh. It's tough to ask a guy from Florida to come in for two hours one day."
Meantime, Rooney said the league has instructed owners that no contract negotiations or business discussions with players will be allowed during this period, even though the lockout has been lifted for now.
Players are also being told they can't workout at team facilities, despite the ruling.
"We can't do anything until they tell us the NFL calendar year is starting," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Clark understood the no-workout ruling, but he said he thought there "should be an opportunity" to use the weight room.
"We knew working out was kind of tough," he said. "It would be tough to tell (conditioning coach) Garrett Giemont and (assistant) Marcel Pastoor to put something together like that on such short notice. You can't put Thanksgiving dinner together on the day of. We understood that."
In a statement released today, the NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, "Players are being treated with courtesy and respect at club facilities. We do not believe it is appropriate for football activities to take place until there are further rulings from the court. Under the last set of proposals made to the NFLPA, teams wouldn't even be into offseason programs yet."
Rooney said it might be a couple days before the owners know if U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson in Minnesota will stay her ruling to lift the lockout while the league appeals. If she does not stay her ruling, the owners will ask a federal appeals court to do so.
"We have to wait and see what happens," Rooney said. "I still say the best way to settle this will be for both sides to sit down and negotiate. If that happens, we will get it done."
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org .