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We’ve been banging the drum regarding impermissible contact in offseason workout for a couple of years.  And we’ve been doing so for several reasons.
First, the Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents it.
Second, the practice seems to be fairly rampant.
Third, the NFLPA rarely seems to do anything about it.
Fourth, there’s nothing else to write about in June.
Contact occurs in offseason no-contact drills in part because players don’t complain about it.  This time around, however, players are openly griping.
In an item posted at and to be aired during Sunday morning’s Outside The Lines, T.J. Quinn reports that multiple Texans players complained about contact in offseason workouts — and that three players suffered season-ending injuries.
It was a live blocking drill,” guard Dan Stevenson said.  “There were people getting pancaked.  Everyone’s going as hard as he can.”
Stevenson suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder, and it’s possible that he won’t play again.
“I felt like, for my career, my occupation, my dreams, for all this to be taken away from me, to be jeopardized not for just one season but for my entire football career for something that wasn’t supposed to be done — I was upset,” Stevenson said.
“I was the third offensive lineman who was done for the season, just from that drill,” offensive tackle Jordan Black said. “If nobody’s going to stand up, it’s just going to continue.”
Black was later cut by the Texans, and he has since signed with the Jaguars.  (Who might suddenly be thinking about cutting him, before they open their own offseason program.)
Per Quinn, the Texans denied that contact was occurring, and the NFL’s Management Council denied a grievance filed on Stevenson’s behalf.
So Stevenson took a video camera to a team meeting and recorded video of the drill.  Though it’s unknown whether Stevenson recorded the images surreptiously (which could open a separate can of worms), Quinn reports that the video “shows what appears to be full-speed, full-contact drills.”
In 2007, the Raiders lost a week of their offseason program due to complaints regarding the intensity and speed of no-contact drills.  But with so many other teams doing the same thing, it was odd that Oakland was singled out.
As one media source explained it to me last week while discussing the importance of having a former player in a high position of union leadership, it’s important for the union to exercise discretion in this regard, because some instances of offseason contact are the result of undrafted rookies trying to make the team in May.  But where the coaching staff is encouraging if not requiring contact at a time when players have only a helmet to protect themselves, the union needs to stand up — and players need to know that there will be no retaliation if they complain.
Guys like Stevenson and Black can sound off, because they no longer play for the team that allegedly was violating the rules.  But other players who hope to continue their careers with their current teams don’t have that luxury.
In an unrelated development, Chiefs running back Larry Johnson has just decided to participate in all offseason workouts this year.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Houston Texans, Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Union
  1. Favre2012 says: Feb 5, 2009 2:43 PM

    OH MY GOD, the professional football players are having to hit each other!
    What’s next, a 23 yr old smoking pot?

  2. DarnSkippy says: Feb 5, 2009 2:55 PM

    I’m sure they picked the Raiders to punish to send a message to the league. The message was, “Obviously, these contact drills do no help you win football games.”

  3. Kevin from Philly says: Feb 5, 2009 3:01 PM

    On the bright side, Stevenson may get a call from the Patriots (will I be among the first 30 guys to post this?)

  4. HouTex says: Feb 5, 2009 3:09 PM

    So 3 backup/practice squad lineman who probably didn’t have any future in the league anyways could cost the Texans a 4th round pick and Kubiak some money?

  5. DarthJay says: Feb 5, 2009 3:23 PM

    Did you mean Patriots Florio? Because I was under the impression that they were the only team in the NFL that broke rules. At least that’s what everyone tells me…

  6. pats307 says: Feb 5, 2009 3:23 PM

    just like Mom used to say, I’ts all fn and games till someone gets hurt.

  7. WorldChampionBears2008 says: Feb 5, 2009 3:32 PM

    They should just fire Kubiak already.
    The contact drill didn’t help the Texans anyway this season (cept to beat my Bears—B*tches!).
    Give em a slap on the wrist and let the players sue the Texans and get their money.

  8. colesslaw says: Feb 5, 2009 3:33 PM


  9. hayward giablommi says: Feb 5, 2009 4:07 PM

    colesslaw says:
    Have you ever posted anything that doesn’t have to do with…(gasp)…”cheating”? Or are you just a useless one trick pony, as I suspect?

  10. mcrowell says: Feb 5, 2009 4:11 PM

    both guys will be looking for jobs in 3 months…they should just let them put the damn pads on and practice the way they were meant to.

  11. empty13 says: Feb 5, 2009 6:29 PM

    LJ in offseason workouts… will all players get to slap wimmin around?

  12. HouTex says: Feb 5, 2009 8:16 PM

    BTW, all members of the Texans O line participated in this drill. Its worthy to note that all 5 Texans starting offensive lineman (Brown, Pitts, Myers, Brisiel, Winston) started all 16 games this year. Apparently the contact wasn’t too much for them.

  13. Houston_311 says: Feb 6, 2009 1:45 AM

    The Texans should only recieve a fine for the infraction of the CBA. Only second and third offenders will be docked a 4th rnd draft pick

  14. Houston_311 says: Feb 6, 2009 1:51 AM

    The Texans should only receive a fine, being their first offense they shouldn’t be docked a 4th round draft pick. Too bad they got caught, but they were breaking the rules.

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