Earlier today, Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reported that players and assistant coaches have been in regular contact during the lockout, despite clear orders against having such communications.
While tracking down a similar rumor (unconfirmed at this point), relating specifically to the presence of an assistant coach at player-organized workouts, we asked the league whether efforts are being made to actively police the possibility of prohibited contact.
“We are monitoring activities in various ways,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via e-mail over the weekend. “Sorry but we are not going into detail.”
Freeman’s report suggests that there are many possible avenues, especially if coaches are using direct messages on Twitter and other electronic methods for which there would be electronic footprints. The bigger question is whether the league truly wants to catch anyone who is breaking the rules. Supposedly, violators will be fired with cause, which means without pay. But what team is going to cut loose a valued member of the staff who is merely trying to help make the team more competitive?
Thus, we think the same hear/see/speak no evil approach that the league typically applies to matters such as tampering will apply here.
If the league office wants to prove us wrong by nailing someone who is violating the rules and insisting that his team fire the coach with cause, we’re fine with that, too.