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More on the NFL Lockout court date set for April 6


At this time of the year in the NFL, it's usually all about free agency and the draft. But now it's all about the April 6 hearing in Minneapolis when the players' request for a preliminary injunction to lift the owners' lockout will be heard. If successful, it would trigger the start of free agency.

Sources told the Daily News Monday that the best-case scenario for the just-decertified NFL Players Association is for U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson to rule within two weeks of the hearing. It is anticipated the players will get the injunction. With it, the owners would have to open up the doors to players and the new season would go by 2010 rules - six years for unrestricted free agency instead of four and no salary cap. The owners are expected to file an appeal to reinstate the lockout if the injunction is granted.

Meantime, there were several developments Monday:

- It now appears that David Doty, the Minnesota federal judge who had ruled in favor of the players in several major cases - the most recent the $4 billion television/lockout insurance ruling - will not be presiding over the Brady vs. the NFL antitrust case. That could be viewed as a victory for the NFL because it was perceived that the players had a home-court advantage with Doty. "To us, that's not an issue," Saints QB Drew Brees said on a conference call Monday. "That was something the owners seem to be very concerned about and focused on."

- ESPN reported that the players' union is trying to organize a boycott by the top college prospects of the April 28-30 draft, already urging 17 not to attend. The league intends to invite 15-20 players. If the players don't show up, the usual procedure of the players coming out and posing with commissioner Roger Goodell when they are selected obviously would not happen.

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