Hopes are not high among Buffalo Bills players for any kind of quick resolution to the labor impasse between the NFL owners and players.
Guys are definitely thirsty to get back to our normal routine," Bills safety and player representative George Wilson said. "But from all indications I’ve had. That’s not going to happen any time soon."
Wilson acknowledged he's not expecting any new agreement before the start of July.
"Not at all. We have the hearing scheduled for June 3. We mediated for like two days. Like I said before, those mediation sessions haven’t been productive at all, all the way back to the ones that took place prior to the lockout," Wilson said.
The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court will conduct a hearing on June 3 to debate the legality of the lockout. Lawyers for the owners and players will debate that issue.
"There’s nothing scheduled between the owners and players at this moment," Wilson said. "A decision is expected to be rendered about three or four weeks after the hearing on June. 3. So that’s going to put you into the end of June, beginning of July. … It’s in the court system right now, and anybody who knows the court system knows the delays and how long the process could be drawn out.”
Wilson is hopeful that a ruling in favor of the players by U.S. District Court Judge David Doty will help the players' negotiating position. Doty will decide on the fate of about $4 billion in television revenue that he previously ruled was unfairly won by the NFL in the last round of contract negotiations with the TV networks. The NFL likely would appeal whatever Doty rules in that case.
“That could definitely sway things," Wilson said. "I know initially when the TV case decision came down early this year, the following day was the one and only day that most of the owners attended the mediation session. That decision definitely had some impact. But ultimately that’s not going to solve the differences between the owners and the players right now.”
Said Bills veteran linebacker Reggie Torbor: "The biggest fear I have is this thing goes into August and cuts into training camp. Now you’re looking at possibly coming in for a week then playing a game. It’s going to be bad. A lot of injuries happen that way. The guys who show up ready will have an advantage, no bones about it."