NFL has no comment on Tom Coughlin’s comments about workout absences

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For the most part, NFL coaches and executives respect the bright-line rules regarding offseason workouts. One of the exceptions continues to be Jaguars executive V.P. of football operations Tom Coughlin.

Said Coughlin regarding players who chose not to attend voluntary workouts: “We’re close to 100 percent attendance — and quite frankly all of our players should be here.”

The NFL declined to comment on Coughlin’s comments. But maybe nothing more needs to be said, given the plain language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

From Article 21, Section 5(a): “No Club official may indicate to a player that the Club’s offseason workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary.”

“All our players should be here” represents an in-plain-sight indication that the sessions aren’t voluntary.

The NFL Players Association has yet to respond to a request for comment on the matter. In 2017, the union pushed back twice against aggressive efforts by Coughlin to skirt the rules, from requiring players to submit to physicals to attempting to start the offseason program earlier than allowed.

This time around, Coughlin has handed the NFLPA a smoking-gun violation of the rules. Given a history of tension that dates back more than a decade, it will be a surprise if the union doesn’t try to take action against Coughlin’s decision to do a cannonball across a bright line.

79 responses to “NFL has no comment on Tom Coughlin’s comments about workout absences

  1. iplaywheniwannaplay says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    The dude just doesn’t get it does he?

    ——————————-

    Remember the plantation mentality comments from a few years back? This is what that looks like. Get in here and work, don’t care if it’s voluntary or not or whether you’ve collectively negotiated the right to have this choice.

  2. ‘“All our players should be here” represents an in-plain-sight indication that the sessions aren’t voluntary.’

    No, ‘All of our players must (or have or are required) to be here would be an in-plain-sight smoking gun. All of our platers ‘should’ be here could easily be passed off to a “Given the way last season went all of our players should be here” outlook.

  3. True statement. Players have to right not to go that’s true. I don’t think anybody would disagree that being there helps the team. So for the best team everybody should be there. Stupid rule not stupid comment.

  4. So…what exactly did he say that is bad? He said the players should be there. The players should. Now, if he sits players or tries to fine players or punishes the players in anyway for not showing up, well, then you have an argument. As for him just saying that the players should be there? Slow day in the news cycle?

  5. Unless their is punishment issued to players who do not attend, the workouts are still voluntary.

  6. They should make them OPTIONAL for players with 3 or less years only. Anyone over 3 years should be banned. I would say eliminate them all together but the coaches and GMs would whine that the young players want to better themselves.

  7. He is right, they “should” be there. He didn’t say they were close to 100% because the players “have” to be there. He also didn’t indicate any sorts of punishment for those that “should” be there, but aren’t.

  8. After their performance last year he is right, all players should be there so they might actually be a good team rather than a bad team. Should is not the same as must.

  9. No, there’s a difference between “should” and “have to be”. Based on the way the Jags played last year, he’s right. Everyone of those players “should” be there working to get better. But some aren’t, because they don’t “have to be”. See how that works?

  10. Sounds to me that he wants his players there because they didn’t exactly tear up the league last year. His comment is absolutely not an indication that the workouts are not voluntary. Coughlin is a no nonsense guy and, with the CBA cutting practice time and hitting, it makes sense that he would think all his players should be getting as much practice time as possible.

  11. It really appears that PFT is trying to stir the pot here and create controversy where there is none. “Quite frankly, all our players should be here” is an opinion, not a directive.

  12. TC is simply pointing out the obvious… Teams want to see dedication by their players. Especially with the discipline issues, lack of effort, absence of commitment, and nonsense that occurred in Jacksonville last year. You’d think that the players would want to prove that 2 seasons ago wasn’t a fluke.

  13. Eh, feeling that players should be there could also be interpreted as saying that “If they cared, they should be here.” Which might be a case to say that Coughlin is an A hole, but I don’t think he made any direct statement that there’s any mandatory attendance.

    I would also be OK with him saying: “Guys fighting for jobs get a leg up for being here.” “NFL is a no guarantee league, if you can’t guarantee me effort I can’t guarantee you a roster spot.” things like that.

    What is he supposed to say? “I don’t care who shows up. You are all even lucky that I showed up.”

    Leave the old man alone.

  14. Like it or not; there are rules and there are consequences of breaking rules. For instance, Kraft’s prostitution arrest, scum bucket Sean Peyton getting suspended for a season, etc…

  15. He said “should be here” — not “have to be here” or “must be here.” The last two would be an “in-plain-sight indication that the sessions aren’t voluntary.” What he actually said isn’t.

  16. iplaywheniwannaplay says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    The dude just doesn’t get it does he?

    He beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, what doesn’t he get?
    It doesn’t bother me at all that Jalen and Telvin aren’t at these workouts, but Coughlin gets it.

  17. It would help if the media stopped reporting on who does and who does not attend voluntary workouts like it’s some kind of compelling event. The press regarding Brady missing last year was insane and then everyone had to relent after he won the Super Bowl. Then it was top news again this year. When someone skips a mandatory workout, then it’s news.

  18. Coughlin is 100% right.
    All players should be there, it’s their JOB!
    But unions protect the laziest & most worthless employees so their stance makes sense.
    It also makes sense that this site supports the union’s views on this.

  19. In the worst kept secret in NFL history, we find that the term “voluntary” doesn’t really apply. Coughlin just has the stones to say it. But apparently not the brains to realize that he shouldn’t.

  20. It says a lot that the only wins the NFLPA has involve not having to practice, not having to hit, not have double days…

    Worst union in all of sports. The NFLPA is a joke.

  21. Having a right to do (or not do) something is NOT the same as the right to not be criticized for your choice. My son-in-law has every legal right to smoke, drink, not work and cheat on my daughter. That does not give him any rights to stop me from saying hes a worthless jerk for using those “legally protected choices.”

    His “right” to do those things also doesn’t stop my daughter from divorcing him. IE: Players who break their butt to give MORE than what is “legally required” – will likely get more when Coughlin evaluates their next request to renew their contract.

  22. iplaywheniwannaplay says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    The dude just doesn’t get it does he?
    ————————————————-
    No, he gets it perfectly – he’s sick of losing!!! The Jags were 5-11 last year. It’s ridiculous that some of you are offended by someone who believes in making the most out of every opportunity to get better. I realize that many in our society are motivated only by what’s best for them – the individual. How I long for the time when we look beyond ourselves, for just a second, and realize that sometimes the TEAM is more important than ourselves and we stop crying every time our precious individual needs are not met. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

  23. If everyone on a team wanted to win a Super Bowl, SHOULDN’T they show up for voluntary activities?? As an organization, I don’t see why it is a problem to say you SHOULD be here. You SHOULD also be working out in the off season on your own if you want to get better. Doesn’t mean you MUST or that the team can fine you.

    The players make obscene amounts of money and good for them. The marketing ploy to take less obscene amounts of money out of consumers pockets is that the teams will put the best product on the field.

    So if the players want to be the best and earn the most, they can answer for themselves what they SHOULD do.

    But don’t lawyer up as soon as some old school guy who has won a game or two suggests work makes for a better team.

  24. Someone “should” explain to Coughlin the definition of “voluntary”. If all players “should” be there, then these workouts would be “mandatory”.

  25. dryzzt23 says:
    April 18, 2019 at 1:34 pm
    Coughlin is 100% right.
    All players should be there, it’s their JOB!
    But unions protect the laziest & most worthless employees so their stance makes sense.
    It also makes sense that this site supports the union’s views on this.

    ———–

    Negotiating for something to be voluntary is a losing situation for both the NFL and the NFLPA. Just have mandatory only. If players do or do not want to train at the facility on their own time, it shouldn’t be reported.

  26. It has long been my impression that ‘shall’, ‘will’, and ‘must’ have about the same imperative weight; that is, the phrase that follows these words is a command that is not to be questioned. However, in my mind, ‘should’ falls in a category of lighter imperativeness, almost to the same level as ‘may’; that is, the phrase that follows ‘should’ is a command that does not need to be completed.

  27. This statement is similar to parents telling their teenage kid, “you should go visit your grandparents”. It means they would really like them to, but they aren’t putting a gun to their head.

  28. A technical violation, possibly. To me, it’s nothing more than a man giving his opinion of how he thinks a professional should operate.

  29. Players who don’t have to worry about a roster spot should be there to demonstrate leadership. They should want to be there because they want to do whatever it takes to win. If they aren’t, then it may be time to move on from those players and get someone else in their spot who cares more.

    Players who do have to worry about a roster spot should be there because they need to take advantage of every opportunity to be seen by the coaching staff doing the right thing.

  30. The rule is a farce any ways. “Voluntary” ok, but that doesn’t stop organizations from thinking better/worse of an employee based on whether they participate or not.

    Doesn’t matter what type of job it is. If your boss had a Christmas party at his house, invited your unit to Happy Hour several times a year, etc. and you were that guy who didn’t go because they were “voluntary” you’ll be looked at different.

    Voluntary workouts, team functions, charity events whatever. If you are the player that’s never involved it’s impossible for the powers that be to not notice

  31. Good grief. The guy is simply 100% committed to what he does and wishes other people were as well. Im not even 50 yet and I am fully starting to appreciate the “get off my lawn” mentality of these older folks (who in reality arent that much older than I am anymore).

  32. Sounds like an episode of Seinfeld on here with people are arguing over what “should” does and doesn’t mean. Bottomline it isn’t enough to get any major trouble. That being said it is another comment which points to Coughlin struggling to adapt to the new world the NFL exists in with less time allowed with players and him pining for the good ol days of multiple 2 a day training camp practices.

  33. “NFL has no comment on Tom Coughlin’s comments about workout absences”
    ==========================
    Why should they Mike? Just about anything would be a better story compared to this. Aside from another “poor Kaep” story of course.

  34. Coughlin’s comments are right on since his team under performed so much. He should clean house.

  35. C’mon Florio. The NFLPA is a joke anyway. You say they care about the players but if they do, then why don’t they fight against Thursday night games or playing games in Europe? I have yet to hear even one player saying they enjoy playing on Thursday night but I’ve seen and heard many of them say they hate it because of the toll it take on their bodies. The same goes for long flights to Europe. Do you honestly think that most players love doing that?
    Coughlin said exactly what every other owner, GM, and coach thinks. And I’ll bet that the players who show up for those “volunteer” workouts feel that way, too.

  36. Go get a dictionary, Tom.
    “done, given, or acting of one’s own free will”
    I don’t see “by guilt or intimidation” in there.

  37. Hillarious. I’m pretty sure the League’s formal rules for the National Anthem say that “players SHOULD remove their helmets and stand at attention for the playing of the National Anthem.” I recall Florio writing 20-25 posts (exaggeration, but you get the point) about the meaning of the word SHOULD and how it doesn’t mean MUST. Now he uses the exact opposite meaning in this example. Which one is it Mike? Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    PS – if you guys sensor this post, you’re really weak.

  38. When the next contract is up for negotiation with the players union, if the teams want these sessions to be mandatory, then get it written into the deal that they are mandatory and agree to pay the players a slightly higher piece of the pie because it takes time away from their families and outside interests.

  39. iplaywheniwannaplay says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    The dude just doesn’t get it does he?
    _________________________________

    He said “should”, I think it is someone else, actually by the comments it’s quite a few others that don’t get it!

    Besides that’s his “opinion” and he’s entilted to have one too!

  40. Oh, c’mon Florio. You and every football fan who knows anything about the NFL knows every GM and coach feels exactly the same way that Coughlin does about these workouts. And truth be known — every player who is there feels that way, too.

  41. Definition of should: Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

  42. This was a no brainer concession from the league when they changed it to voluntary. Its kinda like Columbus day for all the mail carriers.

  43. At least he’s off of the “Cards are drafting Murray #1″………….. for a minute!

  44. amurdora says:
    April 18, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    iplaywheniwannaplay says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    The dude just doesn’t get it does he?

    ——————————-

    Remember the plantation mentality comments from a few years back? This is what that looks like. Get in here and work, don’t care if it’s voluntary or not or whether you’ve collectively negotiated the right to have this choice.

    ————–

    Plantation mentality? Give it a rest. It’s called corporate mentality. It’s just like the unwritten rule that if you are salaried you are expected to work well past the 40 hour mark. As a salaried employee I make a fraction of what these guys make, so forgive me if my heart doesn’t bleed for them.

  45. quite frankly all of our players should be here.

    I don’t see the big deal about this statement. In fact, I agree that they SHOULD be there. Note, he said SHOULD, not MUST. It probably would be good if they were all there, especially when you consider how disappointing last season was. I understand like Brady not being at camp but the Jags should be eager to erase last year’s bad memory.

  46. Plantation mentality? Give it a rest. It’s called corporate mentality. It’s just like the unwritten rule that if you are salaried you are expected to work well past the 40 hour mark. As a salaried employee I make a fraction of what these guys make, so forgive me if my heart doesn’t bleed for them.
    ——————————-

    But you can work your salaried job for 50+ years and not have to worry about brain damage or being able to walk as a result of your job. A lot of these guys have health issues directly related to their job and can only perform it for at MOST 20 years, most are less than 10.

  47. I can’t see how saying “all of our players should be here” shows that it is a requirement.

    It could mean that given how poorly we played last year, all of our players need as much coaching as they can get and should want to be here. He didn’t say they must be there.

    Of course with Coughlin, he meant must. But enough “gray area” that I can’t see that this is more than a reminder as opposed to a sanction.

  48. Should is a moral obligation. Kinda like I should eat right and workout. All players are morally obligated to be there but not contractually obligated. Which means it is voluntary but the man handing out checks frowns on you exercising the option.

  49. Should and shall have different meanings. Any good lawyer would know that.

  50. To all the yokels crying that Tom Coughlin is right to want full participation during VOLUNTARY workouts because the team sucked last year – y’all need to remember it was old arse Coughlin, the genius that extended Blake effing Bortles.

    Coughlin’s terrible decision to give Bortles $26M GUARANTEED and not trade or draft for a serviceable QB is the MAIN reason the team sucked last year. Coughlin needs to look in the mirror, to see where the REAL problem was last year.

    And – VOLUNTARY means VOLUNTARY. Don’t like it? Oh well. Sucks for you and your barely $40/year “career”?! LMAO!

  51. Harveyreman:

    I thought Dave Caldwell signed Nortles to the extension? He was quoted as saying he didnt regret it either.

    Also there is nothing wrong with owner or coaches saying people should be here. These guys work 20 wks a yr and make millions, yet dont really seem to concerned with winning.

  52. Unions ruin everything! They are under contract. Even voluntary should mean you show up. It’s only lifting weights and a little (very little) running.

  53. I think Coughlin is stating the obvious. They were a horrible team last year and any professional with any pride would want to show up

  54. Just do what the Packers do,….
    Just about every starter that has been extended or FA has a workout bonus built into their contracts. Some are pretty large,.. half a mil or more. I think it insures these guys are gonna show up,… right ? A smart move.

  55. All the negative Nancy’s need to
    R-E-L-A-X!

    He’s an old school coach. He grew through the ranks via the ‘older’ ways of doing things.

    Nothing wrong with that. However, things are never what they used to be.

    Seems maybe both sides need to adjust maybe a little.

  56. His “should “ can imply that he expected them to be there. If not, will there but some sort of retribution for not voluntarily showing up? He kinda leaves himself open if he cuts a guy who lacks skill or doesn’t fill a need. Said player could couch that as he was mad that I didn’t show up to voluntary workouts. Best to just not give anyone fodder for later and keep quiet.

  57. How come Coughlin only gets credit when the Jags do well? The team was set before Coughlin shows up. Then the Jags beat Pittsburgh and do well against the Pats and it’s all about what Coughlin did for the team. The Jags have a disappointing 2018 and it’s everyone else’s fault but Tom’s.

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