Bears CEO won't call judge's ruling setback for owners

LAKE FOREST, Ill.--Chicago Bears CEO Ted Phillips refused to call the ruling by U.S. Circuit Judge Susan Richard Nelson on Monday night a setback for NFL owners.

Instead, Phillips said that negotiating between the owners and players is what is needed to get a collective bargaining agreement hammered out.

The next mediated session between the sides is not until May 16, and if the players score another victory in a courtroom before then, it could be back to business in the NFL under uncertain terms.

Popular belief is the ruling by Nelson was a significant win for players. The NFL is seeking a stay that would continue the lockout until an appeal is heard. Players have until 9 a.m. Wednesday to reply to the NFL’s request for an expedited motion.

“Right now, we just want some clarification when the league year will start and what’s going to happen going forward,” Phillips said this morning at a ceremony honoring the club’s recipients of the annual Brian Piccolo Awards. “That’s really all I can tell you right now.

“Right now I think the league, the clubs and the players too are all looking for some clarification, some additional rulings from the judge. When that happens we’ll re-address the situation and see where we go.”

Phillips stressed that the two sides must meet face to face to solve the issues that have hung over the league like a dark cloud.

“Ultimately, the collective bargaining agreement needs to get resolved,” he said. “That’s going to happen when both sides sit down at the bargaining table and hash it out. That’s what we’re looking forward to.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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