Leave it to Pete Carroll to push the limitations of the NFL’s workout rules in only the third round of organized team activities. The poster child for a squeaky-clean program he most certainly is not — and this week it caught up to the third-year Seattle Seahawks head coach.
The NFL punished the Seahawks on Tuesday for violating the league’s collective bargaining agreement’s offseason workout rules by having live contact during a recent OTA. The players’ union and the league’s management council forced Seattle to forfeit OTA practices today, and Thursday and a Friday workout. Players will still be paid for the sessions, but they cannot report to team facilities.
Carroll seemed neither surprised or terribly disappointed by the charge.
“We’ve had great practices, our guys have met every expectation, they have worked like crazy,” Carroll said. “We have talked all the talk throughout the time about taking care of one another, working to make it safe, playing within the guidelines, and we probably have stretched this limit, obviously by this indication.”
According to the collective bargaining agreement, “There will be no contact work (e.g. “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bum-and-run) or use of pads (helmets permitted) at minicamps.”
Ho hum. A few extra days off for the boys after a few days of harder-than-normal practice.
Had a key Seattle player suffered a serious injury during the live contact drills, perhaps Carroll would be a bit more contrite. But a few extra shoves and a minicamp scuffle seem to happen every spring, and the punishment it usually minor.
Back in 2005 the Redskins were punished for holding OTAs that were too physical for offseason guidelines after the team made videos of the practices available on its Web site. In 2010, the Ravens owned up to their mistake after they forfeited the final week of OTAs for violations. The Raiders faced similar punishments in 2007 and 2010. The Seahawks are the first team to violate the minicamp rules under the new CBA.
In the grand scheme of things, a few missed practice days likely won’t register. It’s not like the Seahawks are having their 2010 NFC West title vacated or anything. Carroll has experienced that before (twice) at Southern Cal and he’ll be the first to admit that’s a far worse fate.
The Seahawks are coming off a season in which running back Marshawn Lynch’s hard-nosed style began to percolate up and down the roster of a steadily improving team. And after Seattle added several high-upside picks in the draft, Carroll can only be encouraged by increasingly competitive practices.
“Our guys will miss these two days, we’ll come back with minicamp next week and it will be really important to us to do really well there,” Carroll said. “We will be that much smarter about how we can do things right and will continue to work with our young guys to make sure they understand.”
Hard Hits: Are OTAs really important?