NFLPA monitoring Sean Lee play
May, 28, 2014
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com
IRVING, Texas -- NFL Players Association officials haven't requested a copy of the practice tape from Tuesday's organized team activities involving the Dallas Cowboys, however they are monitoring the injury suffered by middle linebacker Sean Lee from their Washington D.C. offices like they do with all injuries that occur.
Lee suffered a torn ACL in Tuesday's practice after he engaged with guard Zack Martin during a screen pass. Lee's left leg appeared to buckle before he connected with Martin.
Lee needed help from two athletic trainers to leave the practice field.
The collective bargaining agreement states there should be no live contact between players during any of the offseason workouts. However, what specifies as live contact remains unclear in the collective bargaining agreement.
More from the CBA regarding OTAs: "No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted)."
Lee isn't the only player to get injured during OTAs. Hakeem Nicks (foot in 2012), Michael Crabtree (Achilles in 2013) and Melvin Ingram (ACL in 2013) are some notable and recent players who have been hurt during the offseason practices.
The NFLPA wouldn't look into the Cowboys' practice habits, but more about what happened to Lee on the play and to make sure the players are working under safe conditions. The Cowboys practices, under coach Jason Garrett, while competitive, are probably no different than most NFL teams. There are times players have to be careful when they engage with each other, but injuries do occur. Last year, defensive end Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles tendon in a non-contact drill on the first day of training camp.
Team officials don't believe Martin did anything wrong during Tuesday's practice, and being that it was a legal practice there is only so much the union can do.
"We talk a lot about how to practice and understand that we’re going to be in competitive situations, but the guy across from you is your teammate," Garrett said. "We understand that we have helmets and jerseys on, and we really emphasize players staying off the ground and how you compete against each other. Really get some productive work done early in the down, and then once it gets into a skirmish or competitive situation like it would be in a normal play, you kind of back off of that. So you try to be as productive as you can in the environment that you’re in and make it competitive, but also understand who you’re competing against."