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Ted Olson, left, a lawyer representing NFL players, speaks to the media outside the federal courthouse June 3, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — NFL players urged a federal appeals court Friday to declare the lockout illegal, saying the league had no right to impose a work stoppage that is now approaching three months with no sign of a deal that will save the 2011 season.

In a courtroom packed with some 200 people, including out-of-work players and retirees on folding chairs brought in to handle the crowd, attorneys on both sides of the bitter labor fight got roughly 30 minutes each to make their cases.

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