Today, for the first time in about two months, NFL players were free to return to their team facilities to work out, get their playbooks and talk to coaches and team personnel.

And many of them did. A likely paranoid Jimmy Clausen showed up early in Carolina. A myriad of Titans braved the heavy security in Nashville. Tony Romo made an appearance at the Cowboys’ facility. And so on and so on.

But now there’s a chance all of those players will be asked to leave. (Hope they got their playbooks.)

ESPN is reporting (via ProFootballTalk) that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the league a temporary stay on Judge Susan Nelson’s injunction ruling that forced the NFL to open its doors just hours ago.

If that’s the case, it could be weeks, even months, before we see free agency, trades and offseason workouts.

The appeals court will hear the players’ argument against a stay on Monday. After that, it won’t be long before we find out whether theĀ new lockout will last as long or longer than the original one did.

Either way, it’s a minor victory for the owners, who were in one hell of a legal slump.

UPDATE: It looks as though ESPN jumped the gun, but a stay is expected to be granted at some point today.