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Offseason rules in full force

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 04:  A general view of the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility outside Arrowhead Stadium as the NFL lockout looms while negotiations are extended on March 4, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

Now that all 32 teams have completed the 2015 season, it makes sense to review the things that can and can’t be done until the offseason programs open in April.

The rules appear in Article 21, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Before the launch of the offseason program, players can’t participate in Club-supervised workouts, practices, group, or individual meetings with coaches, group or individual film study with coaches, or group or individual playbook study with coaches. This provision is the origin of periodic comments from coaches regarding their inability to communicate with players in the offseason.

Still, there’s no prohibition on phone calls or discussions that don’t amount to meetings, film study, or playbook study. If, for example, 49ers coach Chip Kelly simply wants to get to know quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Kelly can call Kaepernick and talk to him. But with Kelly taking the ridiculously extreme position that he can’t even talk about Kaepernick publicly, it seems that Kelly either doesn’t understand the rules or is being deliberately obtuse, possibly to enhance trade potential for Kaepernick by not taking a clear position on whether the 49ers want him during the window when interested teams might call.

Players nevertheless are allowed to work out in the team facility, with strength and conditioning coaches prevented from supervising workouts but permitted into supervise the weight room to prevent injury and correct misuse of the equipment. And plenty of players prefer to stay in shape that way, given the fact that it’s both familiar and free.

Regardless of the rules, football coaches who want to talk to their players will surely find a way to do it. In the five years since the new rules were promulgated, no coach ever has been accused to talking to players more than he should. Players who are truly committed to winning will do whatever they have to do, exercising discretion while also planning for an opportunity to compete more effectively in the coming season.

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8 Responses to “Offseason rules in full force”
  1. joeconnorjr says: Feb 11, 2016 8:22 PM

    “…players can’t participate in Club-supervised workouts, practices, group, or individual meetings with coaches, group or individual film study with coaches, or group or individual playbook study with coaches. ”

    —————————

    Does anyone still wonder why so few college quarterbacks successfully make the transition to the NFL? The off-season would be the perfect time for them to work with their coaches and learn the pro game. Once training camp starts, where is the time for this kind of individual attention? This part of the CBA may be well-intentioned, but it sounds like a case of penny-wise, pound-foolish.

  2. weepingjebus says: Feb 11, 2016 8:24 PM

    This is also the time of year that us Pats fans drive very slowly past Roger Goodell’s summer home, just to make the automatic lights go on and his panic calls to the local PD go up a notch.

  3. atwatercrushesokoye says: Feb 11, 2016 8:40 PM

    Can teams with new coaches hand out playbooks to the players as long as they don’t discuss the contents while they’re doing it? Or does that violate the Jeff Saturday rules?

  4. hooterdawg says: Feb 11, 2016 11:27 PM

    I don’t understand why this site presumes it is privy to the internal strategy of any NFL front office. Chip Kelly is smart to avoid saying anything to the media that could be fanned into a controversy.

  5. bat42boy says: Feb 11, 2016 11:37 PM

    All l can say is is that those are the stupidest rules l’ve heard of. They are as bad as the NCAA rules.

  6. moses74 says: Feb 12, 2016 12:50 AM

    hooterdawg says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:27 PM

    I don’t understand why this site presumes it is privy to the internal strategy of any NFL front office. Chip Kelly is smart to avoid saying anything to the media that could be fanned into a controversy.
    ========================

    because this is a NFL news page that likes to inform it’s audience with the in’s and out’s of the NFL off season? Im baffled by your comment.

  7. It Takes 3 Mannings To Equal One Brady says: Feb 12, 2016 10:26 AM

    I think it should be optional. If a player wants to come in every day to study film, catch passes from his QB, work on audibles, whatever, why should that be outlawed? The world isn’t going to end because a player and coach talked about football and strategy for the upcoming season. Why should it be against the rules for Tom Brady to talk about the play book with Josh McDaniels??? I don’t get it… I understand the NFLPA wanting to make sure that the players aren’t over worked, I get it. But this time of the year could be the difference between a player becoming an all pro, or a bust. I would think the NFLPA would encourage all of their union members to put in their work to become the best they can possibly be in order to maximize their ability to get paid. Would you rather make $200k per year for 3 years? Or make $4 mil per year for 5 years? February to August is where that difference is made

  8. youknowiknowitall says: Feb 12, 2016 11:57 AM

    In the five years since the new rules were promulgated, no coach ever has been accused to talking to players more than he should.
    ——————
    Just like filming signals and checking air pressure in footballs, no cares unless it somehow might involve NE.

    Belichick better watch out. If he so much as says “hello” to any of the NE players, Goodell and the morons at NFL HQ will make it out to be the biggest cheating scandal of all time, fine him $2M and take away 3 !st rounders. And the haters will all be OK with that just because it’s NE.

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