Before the 2011 CBA was finalized, teams routinely disregarded the rule against contact in offseason workouts. After the new labor deal arrived, teams seemed to pull back on the physicality in the offseason. Or perhaps to be a lot more discreet about its existence.
At least one of the Chiefs’ rookies didn’t get the memo to be mum about the amount of hitting in the T-shirts-and-shorts (and helmets) sessions.
“It is pretty physical, despite popular belief,” sixth-round guard Zach Fulton told reporters, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “It does get pretty physical down in the trenches. I’m still working on my hand placement and my footwork and things like that. It’s the fundamentals.”
Fulton also explained, via a transcript distributed by the team, that the camp consist of “a lot of guys working hard trying to prove themselves.”
Asked if he was surprised about the physicality, Fulton said it’s “[p]retty much what I thought.”
Regardless of what he thought, the rules are clear: “No live contact is permitted.” And regardless of the fact that Fulton exposed that contact is happening in Kansas City, the Chiefs surely aren’t the only team doing it.
The broader question is whether the NFLPA will try to put a stop to it, or whether the union will go along with the reality that football practice will always be football practice, regardless of whether football players are told not to play football.