Thursday, July 21, 2011
Lockout conduct could bring discipline
By Pat Yasinskas
Everything is still pending ratification by the National Football League Players Association, but the National Football League is talking like there will be a season.
Commissioner Roger Goodell just finished a news conference in Atlanta, where owners ratified their side of the deal. The league also issued a calendar for the preseason and made it sound like players who had legal problems during the lockout could be subject to disciplinary action.
"Violations of law, that’s covered by the personal conduct policy,’’ league counsel Jeff Pash said. “We believe that policy remains in effect.’’
That could impact Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib. He was charged with assault in Texas in March and faces a trial next March. Talib already served a one-game suspension last year and could be viewed as a repeat offender.
The league also is saying that team facilities will be open Saturday for voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction. Also on Saturday, teams can begin to renegotiate contracts with their own players and sign their own free agents. Waivers for the league year also begin Saturday.
Starting at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, teams can begin negotiating with undrafted rookie free agents and free agents from other teams, but are not allowed to sign them right away. At 2 p.m. Sunday, teams can begin signing undrafted rookie free agents.
The official free agency period will begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Rosters expand to 90 players Wednesday.
Training camps also can open Wednesday, but will be limited to reporting, conducting physicals and meetings. Teams can’t practice in pads until the fourth day of training camp.