Jerricho Cotchery returns a punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh.
Mike DeVito rolled up to the security gate outside the New York Jets' facility and a guard got on his radio to let someone know the defensive lineman was there.
"OK, you can let him through," said the voice on the other end.
Permission to enter was granted, but that was about all for DeVito and five of his Jets teammates who showed up for work Tuesday morning.
"It was really awkward being here," DeVito told The Associated Press.
Pro Bowl offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, guard Brandon Moore, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris arrived separately between 9 and 10 a.m., looking to work out before learning that the weight room and training facility were closed. The players came to work after a federal judge temporarily lifted the NFL's lockout Monday night.
"Being under contract and to come to a place you drive every day, it's kind of weird to not be able to have access to a facility like you normally do," said Moore, an assistant player representative. "To not speak to anybody, everybody's hiding out, not available, nobody's walking the halls. It's awkward that it's come to this."
Each player spent about 15 minutes in the facility before getting back in their cars and heading home — without a workout, a dip in the cold tub or interacting with any of their coaches, including offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
After Scott left before 10:30 a.m., no other Jets players arrived at the facility during the next several hours.
Some of the players showed up partially because they have large offseason workout bonuses in their contracts, including Ferguson ($750,000), who thought Tuesday should count as a day because he tried to work out.
DeVito said he was immediately met by Ari Nissim, the Jets' director of football administration, and Dave Szott, the team's director of player development, when he entered the facility.
"They said there was no plan in place, so there was nothing going on here," DeVito said. "I was hoping to work out, but the training room was closed, so I went to the locker room, grabbed my cleats and left.
"It was like a ghost town in there."
DeVito said a number of coaches were there — "I saw their cars here" — but weren't allowed to see or speak to them.
The Jets offered no official comment, deferring to the NFL's statement, which said: "We are going to proceed in an orderly way that is fair to the teams and players and complies with court orders. 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."
A day after U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ended the 45-day lockout, she said she wouldn't rule on the NFL's request for a stay of her order until at least Wednesday, so she can hear from players — even as attorneys for the players asked for clarification on her order. That left league operations in limbo for at least another day.
"I'm not sure what's next," DeVito said. "I'll talk to my agent and we'll see what goes down."
That's how just about all of his teammates summed up the situation, too.
"We just want to get back to football," Moore said.