Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC South [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Are OTA restrictions a gain for players?

By Paul Kuharsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Did the players really win much when they reduced offseason workout obligations in the new collective bargaining agreement?

Sure, less work is better in some ways, and a bigger offseason is certainly an upgrade for a lot of players in a lot of ways.

Sure, parameters need to be spelled out and restrictions put in place to keep teams from abusing players’ time or making them feel they need to be doing things they don’t really have to.

But a scene from Tuesday at the Jaguars’ OTA session was telling.

These light, two-hour practices end promptly at 1 p.m. with three short blasts of a horn.

But Monday, running backs coach Sylvester Croom and Rashad Jennings were lingering. It’s what a lot of coaches and players do after practices during the year. Stay after a bit to go over something, to get a question answered or to make a correction.

“I turned around and I didn’t even realize they were still on the field after 1 p.m.,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “I’m like, ‘You can’t be out here!’ I had to pull them off and I hope my gesture of ‘get-off-the-field’ was big enough that the cameras saw me.”

Props to Mularkey for being a stickler on the rules.

He said he’s had to pull Croom and receivers coach Jerry Sullivan off the field that way so far, because by force of habit coaches work with guys after practice and players ask for such time.

Now the Jaguars' new head coach has to monitor such things.

In “concessions” the players “won” from owners in the negotiations that produced a 10-year labor agreement, did they really want to ensure a running back who wanted to couldn’t spend an extra minute with his coach before leaving the field on May 23?