Thursday, April 28, 2011
NFL allows coach-player interaction
By Mike Sando
The NFL has released a statement saying the following will take place beginning Friday at 8 a.m. ET (I am running this verbatim from the NFL):
- Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club;
- Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players;
- Coaches may meet with players for the purpose of discussing any materials distributed to players under item 2 above, as well as the club’s offseason workout program, its schedule of mini-camps, Organized Team Activities (“OTAs”), and other similar matters.
- Voluntary off-season workout programs, including OTAs and classroom instruction, may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXV of the 2006 CBA and Appendix L. Participating players will be paid $130 per day, provided the player fulfills the club’s reasonable off-season workout requirements. Such workouts will count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.
- On days during which no official off-season workouts or OTAs are scheduled under item 4 above, nothing shall prevent the club from permitting any player to use the club facility to work out on his own on a voluntary, unpaid basis during normal business hours, or such other hours as may be set by the club, provided: (i) there is no participation or supervision by any coach, trainer or other club personnel; and (ii) the club has first verified that the player has an existing medical insurance policy in place. Players without such personal coverage should not be permitted to work out at the club facility on an unsupervised basis under this item 5, but may do so under item 4 above. Unsupervised workouts will not count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract. This item 5 will apply both prior to and after the commencement of the club’s official off-season workout program.
- Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXVI of the 2006 CBA.
- The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs. We will advise clubs as to when and on what basis testing will commence.
- Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events.
What about trades and free agency?
"With respect to player transactions (such as signings, trades of player contracts, terminations, tryouts, etc.)," the league wrote, "we plan to distribute to all clubs, likely tomorrow, a comprehensive set of procedures governing such transactions. This will include the timing for the commencement of the 2011 League Year, free agent signings and other customary player transactions."
This suggests teams will not have guidelines for trading players during the first round of the draft, and there are no guarantees those guidelines will be in place for subsequent rounds of the draft. It appears, on the surface, that the league is buying 24 hours to get through the first round of the draft before observing the court order striking down the lockout. I'm seeking clarification.
The playbook provisions are key for NFC West teams with new coordinators and coaching staffs. St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford can finally meet with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, for example. That allowance prevents a worst-case scenario whereby players could report to training camp or for the regular season without knowing much about their new schemes.
Update: No player trades during the first round of the draft.