Tim Dobbins skips OTAs, Texans don’t seem troubled by it


In the NFL, the word “voluntary” means “be there.”  Actually, at every level of football, any team activity that the player can choose to attend or skip comes with a presumption that, if the player knows what’s good for him, he’ll be there.

(If you don’t believe that, just ask any high-school football player who decides that school work is more important that “voluntary” weightlifting sessions.)

As a result, and given the recent reduction in total offseason workouts, NFL players are expected to be there — by the teams, the coaches, the media, and the fans.

While we fully support any player who chooses to not attend, in part because of the inherent hypocrisy of calling something “voluntary” when it really isn’t, those who boycott voluntary drills need to be extremely secure in their position on the roster.

Most who do it are.  Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks, who has drawn the ire of coach Tom Coughlin by not volunteering to risk offseason injury in a contract year, isn’t going to end up on the bench for skipping OTAs.  Eagles cornerback Cary Williams, though less established than Nicks, is banking on separating from the competition at training camp.

In Houston, linebacker Tim Dobbins feels the same way, apparently.  He has skipped the entire offseason, causing consternation among the fans and the media.

Coach Gary Kubiak is unfazed, at least outwardly.”It’s voluntary,” Kubiak said Thursday of Dobbins’ ongoing absence.

Dobbins’ agent, David Canter, has been making the media rounds regarding the player’s decision.  He told 610 Sports Radio in Houston that Dobbins is serving as the general contractor for construction work he has commissioned.  Canter also has declared on Twitter that Dobbins could miss all activities from April 1 through August 1 and be ready to start as of Week One.

It’s nevertheless glaring when a guy isn’t there.  For the Texans, only Dobbins and Ed Reed (who is injured) are absent.  Which means that, if Dobbins doesn’t bring it when camp opens, he won’t be getting the benefit of the doubt when it’s time to fill out the roster and the depth chart.

And while the labor deal prohibits teams from using the decision not to attend the voluntary portion of the offseason program against them, it’s impossible to second-guess the decisions of coaches who don’t provide a trail of evidence that would suggest bias.  By staying quiet (like Kubiak and unlike Coughlin) and eventually benching or cutting marginal players who choose to skip the sessions, coaches can send a powerful message to anyone tempted to stay away in the future.

Most fans would support that.  They see dedication and commitment in players showing up for 10 OTA sessions and getting paid to lift weights and do cardio, laziness and disloyalty in those who don’t.

Until the workouts become truly mandatory, pockets of players will continue to exercise their right to not attend offseason workouts.  If teams don’t like it, they should tie more of a given player’s compensation to workout bonuses.

13 responses to “Tim Dobbins skips OTAs, Texans don’t seem troubled by it

  1. As a high school athlete, I think your wrong mike. Many coaches are teachers themselves, and if you need help or to take a test instead of practice, they’ll understand

  2. Dobbins better not get to full of himself. He was used lastseason because frankly, there was no one else on the roster. He is a slow-footed linebacker, not a starter by any means of the imagination. Not going to OTAs is silly.

  3. He may have taken a couple head shots last year that no one is aware of. If I were a linebacker for the Houston Texans, this would be a pretty damn good year to step up.

  4. If I’m reading this right, he’s skipping OTA’s because it conflicts with what sounds like another job….

    Dobbins, you were a back up and played marginally well, you’re expendable.

    Smith should cut him just to send a message… especially if Sharpton is looking good to go.

  5. All you fools care about is football, damn the person underneath the uniform. Nobody know his situation or what he may have on his plate. I dont know many people that do extra work for nothing, so if the man need to take care of his business let him do it. Stop thinking like a dumbazz “FAN” all the time, everybody on thae team don’t make Andre, Schaub, Foster etc money.

  6. First off, a lot of players have financial incentives in their contracts to show up at “voluntary” workouts – so a lot of them aren’t doing it to begin with to be great “team players”.

    Secondly, Antonio Smith has already stated that Dobbins was there in Houston working out with them before the rookie camp started, so it’s not like he totally abandoned the team.

    He’ll be at mandatory mini camp next week and in training camp – not a big deal at all.

  7. You can disagree with some of the Texans decisions but you can not argue the way they handle their business. They talk to the people they need to talk to and do not negotiate, mediate or discipline through the media. My guess is Dobbins will eventually understand weather or not the Texans as an organization were unhappy with this decision and the rest of us will be left guessing.

    Class act all the way on the part of Kub.

  8. Any of the “fans” you speak for ever miss work for doctor appointments, family reasons, a day of playing hooky, or anything else? Thought so….

  9. Dobbins was injured at the end of last year. Maybe he should not be playing right now and this is the way they choose to handle it.

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