Shutdown Corner

Seattle Seahawks docked two practices for violations of OTA contact rules

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Safety Earl Thomas tries to get the ball from RB Marshawn Lynch during Seattle's 5/24 practice. (AP)

According to the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association, the Seattle Seahawks will not be practicing in Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, after it was decreed from on high that the team was in violation of the rules of practice contact per the new collective bargaining agreement.

"The NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association have determined that the Seattle Seahawks violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement's offseason workout rules on the prohibition of live contact during one of the club's organized team activity days. As a result, the Seahawks will forfeit two of their scheduled OTA practices (June 6 and 7) as well as an additional offseason workout day on Friday, June 8. Seahawks' players are not permitted to be at the facility on those days, but will be paid for the sessions. The club cannot reschedule the cancelled days."

These are the first punishments of this type under the new CBA.

There are contact and non-contact days allowed during the offseason before training camp, and apparently, the Seahawks stepped across the line. As someone who has attended some (but not all) of the team's OTAs this offseason, I didn't see any such violations, but there's no public knowledge of when the specific incident occurred. It's also part of the new CBA that all practices must be filmed.

From the CBA:

There will be no contact work [e.g., "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) or use of pads [helmets permitted] at minicamps ... Clubs shall film all on-field activities from any minicamp, and shall maintain a copy of such films until 30 days after the start of the regular season. The NFLPA may view such films [after signing a confidentiality agreement satisfactory to the NFL at the start of each League Year] only upon the filing of a complaint alleging a violation of this Article.

Per the new CBA, teams are allowed 10 OTA days in the offseason, and none of those sessions can last longer than two hours. Helmets may be worn, but shoulder pads may not, and the kind of contact you're used to seeing at training camp is now part of the deal.

"We've had great practices," Carroll said in response to the announcement. "Our guys have worked like crazy and met every expectation to get the job done. We have talked all of the time about taking care of one another and working to keep it safe -- play within the guidelines, and we probably stretched this limit, obviously, by this indication. I'm not surprised by that. We're as competitive as you can be, and we're a young football team. Most of these guys have never been in an OTA practice, so this is their first time to get a smell of it. As we go through this, we've had to learn, and I think our best practice was maybe our last one.

"We practiced really hard and really fast, and we did it in a teaching mode, which is what we're asked to do. Our guys will miss these two days, we'll be back at minicamp starting next week, and it will be really important to us to do really well there. We'll be that much smarter about how we can do things right, and we'll continue to work with our young guys to make sure they understand."

As Carroll also said, part of the problem that the Seahawks ran into (and other teams might as well) is that the standard for contact hasn't really been spelled out. "I think if nothing else, the league will understand maybe a standard better. We have not had any film to look at. We haven't had the opportunity to see how it's supposed to be done, but maybe that's what we're creating and we'll try to look at that as a positive and help everybody understand how this thing goes. It's a learning process and I'm just thrilled that we've had such good work up to this point that our guys get a couple days off here and we'll come back next week and get working again."

As Shutdown Corner reported last week, the Thursday session now canceled was the day scheduled for the workout of former Long Beach Poly High star linebacker Brian Banks, who was falsely accused and convicted of rape. Banks, who had verbally committed to Pete Carroll's USC team at age 16, was going to get a tryout with Carroll's new team, but there's no word on how this will affect the workout, and if so, when that will be rescheduled.

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