Make sure you are sitting down before you read the following breaking news: NFL coaches are not following the rules of the lockout.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reports that assistant coaches and players across the league have been keeping in close contact regarding workouts, often with weekly chats.
He recalls seeing one player have a 20 minute conversation with a coach. Others have kept in touch via Twitter (direct message), texts, Skype phone calls, and email. Some coaches have even joined players at their homes to watch game film. Others reportedly have faxed plays to players.
Some conversations are casual, but others focus on what the players are doing to prepare for the season.
It sends a mixed message for the players to work with the coaches, but the reality is that labor unity isn’t necessarily the top priority for most players.
“Eventually we’ll have football again. All that matters to me is who is ready and who isn’t,” one player told Freeman.
Freeman says that roughly 25% of the league’s players are keeping touch with assistant coaches. Head coaches appear to be letting their assistants do the work to keep some distance while breaking the rules.
This news should surprise absolutely no one. In a $9 billion industry, both sides (players and coaches) are going to do what they can to get ahead while the labor uncertainty boils.
A story like this supports my belief that getting playbooks distributed won’t remotely be a problem for teams. Once a few players have the playbook, the rest will get it whether it is from coaches or teammates. Who is going to stop them?
We doubt the phone conversations will stop either.