The Collective Bargaining Agreement contains clear standards regarding offseason workouts. Under Article XXXV, Section 5, “[c]ontact work” is expressly prohibited. For years, however, offseason workouts have included contact. Union sources from the pre-De Smith regime have explained to us that the NFLPA tolerates offseason workout violations relating to issues such as contact because extensive offseason workouts translated to less intense training camps.
The recent finding that the Lions violated the offseason workout rules makes crystal clear that the new regime no longer is willing to look the other way.
“It wasn’t player-generated,” team union rep Jon Jansen said Wednesday, per the Associated Press. “It was from a spot check by
As it turns out, the union saw an article regarding the first encounter between rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and veteran Stephen Peterman (possibly via this batch of PFT one-liners), requested film of the practice, and decided that the drill crossed the line.
Coach Jim Schwartz’s comments make clear the fact that these violations occur routinely when first-year players and veterans rendezvous for the first time. “It was the first practice with rookies,” Schwartz said “Generally the
first practice with rookies, there are going to be more guys on the
ground because you have rookies who are trying to make a good first
impression and you have veterans who don’t want to be beat by a rookie. They looked at that practice and didn’t like the looks of it.”
Bottom line? If the union no longer will be tolerating technical violations of offseason workout rules, training camps could end up being slightly more intense than in the past.
Or maybe significantly more intense.