A federal appeals court declined to hear an appeal by the NFL in a dispute over restrictions on veteran free-agent players.
The league, in a statement from its headquarters in New York, said: "We continue to believe that our system is reasonable, that it serves the best interests of professional football."
U.S. District Judge David Doty of Minneapolis ruled May 24 that the league's labor exemption for restrictions on veteran free agents ended when the players association terminated its union status in 1989.
The suit was brought by Freeman McNeil of the New York Jets, Don Majkowski of the Green Bay Packers and six other players. They asked for free agency and triple damages, saying NFL clubs could no longer restrict veteran free agents.