Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:58 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2010 12:05 am

More NFL teams violating the CBA

And then there were four. Four teams, that is, that have been forced by the NFL to cut back their OTA practices for failing to adhere to the Collective Bargaining Agreement where it pertains to the intensity and tempo of offseason workouts.

Already, Baltimore and Oakland had been busted for violating the CBA. Today, the NFL determined that Jacksonville and Detroit also had violated the rules, and therefore, the Jaguars and the Lions will have to forgo their OTA days for June 21-22.

Players are not permitted to be at the team site for those days, except for injury treatment, but they’ll still be paid.

Here’s what it says in the CBA regarding offseason workouts:

Contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run), is expressly prohibited in all off-season workouts.

Voluntary off-season workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players. The intensity and tempo of drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority, and not at a level where one player is in a physical contest with another player.

The following rules shall also apply to the fourteen (14) days of organized team practice activity:

• No pads except protective knee or elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.
• No live contact; no live contact drills between offensive and defensive linemen.
• 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills will be permitted, providing no live contact takes place.
• The NFL will monitor all Clubs during the off-season to ensure player safety and adherence to live contact guidelines.
• Maximum six (6) hours per day, with a maximum two (2) hours on field, for any player.

What’s so interesting to me is that, more than likely, a current member of that team turned in his squad to the NFLPA. The NFL, sometimes, has operatives who come to town to check that teams are adhering to the CBA and sometimes, it reviews teams’ practice videos, but it seems unlikely that was the case for all four teams.

So, what does that say? Is the fact a team member righted what was a CBA wrong a commendable action? Or does that make him a pansy?

“You don’t want to rat out your teammates,” one veteran DB told me. “I mean, something had to be said to the (NFL)PA. That goes back to the old saying, ‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,’ but the PA is still there to protect the players.”

Does this happen quite a bit, though? The player to whom I talked, after all, has competed for four teams.

“It happens,” he said. “But you can’t worry about it. You have to worry about your own self.”

I also talked to a recently-retired defensive lineman about this issue, and he said the league should make it easy – have all OTAs be considered a passing camp. The linemen, he said, shouldn’t have to pound on each so much in the offseason, considering the beating they take during the regular season.

As for Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, here’s what he told the media today: "Unfortunately it’s been decided by the (NFL) PA and the Management Council that we were somehow going beyond the limits that they had established for us, and while I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment of what we’ve been doing, we are going to respect that decision. … I don’t think in any way this diminishes the amount of work we were able to get done; the energy and the effort was outstanding. I feel like we accomplished a great deal as a young football team that’s very hungry, that’s very eager.”

Del Rio also said next work’s workouts were simply going to be a review of what already had been installed. The Florida Times-Union’s Vito Stellino tweeted this about the punishment: “The ironic thing is that the writers had nicknamed Del Rio's camps Cub Med in the pas(t) because of a lack of hitting in pads.”

As for the Lions, they’ll still hold their mini-camp June 23-25, and GM Martin Mayhew said in a statement the organization will continue to respect the league’s rules and regulations. Meanwhile, running back Kevin Smith said he expects his teammates to participate in cardio work on their own.

“You don’t want to take four or five days off before a minicamp that’s going to be pretty intense, Smith told the Detroit Free Press .

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:33 pm

A serene Lawson returns to work

LB Manny Lawson might want a new contract from the 49ers, and even though it appears he’d have some leverage – he was, after all, the team’s leader with 6.5 sacks last season while tying a franchise record with four forced fumbles – he actually showed up for mandatory mini-camp without a new deal in place. Considering the final year of his five-year contract pays him $630,000, he has a pretty good claim that he deserves more money.

But if a new contract isn’t forthcoming, Lawson will be ready to play anyway.

“Everybody wants a new contract,” he told reporters today. “I wanted to be here. I wanted to be a San Francisco 49er. I would like a new contract, yes.”

He said he didn’t consider skipping mini-camp, but for the first time in his career, he declined to show up for voluntary workouts.

“I wanted to get a new look,” he said. “Step outside, kind of have a vacation, but a vacation away from a vacation.”

You know, for being what I’d consider a low-paid player and for having to watch other teammates sign brand-new deals – including Ahmad Brooks, the man who’s been taking Lawson’s snaps on defense while he’s been away and who will try to take his starting spot – Lawson seems to be handling himself rather calmly.

“I'm about everybody getting what they deserve,” Lawson said.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:04 pm

A week later on Bruce

OK, this happened about a week ago, but I wanted to touch on the announced retirement of WR Isaac Bruce.

More specifically, I just wanted to link to this Rick Reilly column from 2000 when he was still with Sports Illustrated. I don’t know why, but this has always been one of my favorites from Reilly. Say what you will about Reilly today – and many of my sports writer colleagues don’t mind sharing their opinions – there’s no doubt the man, when he was interested, could write.

Last line of the column: even a decade later, it's just a powerful statement. Hell of a kicker.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 17, 2010 10:47 pm

Movement on the Atogwe front

For much of the offseason, much has been made about the saga of free agent S O.J. Atogwe, who was released by the St. Louis Rams after they offered him a $5 million pay cut and he declined to sign. He’s also kind of a big deal, because Atogwe is the most high-profile free agent on the market. 

After a few weeks of almost no movement, The’s Jason La Canfora reported that the Seahawks finally are showing some interest in him. Atogwe was made the Rams franchise player last season, and although he’s coming off shoulder surgery, he’ll be 29 next week and has accumulated 18 interceptions in the past four seasons. In other words, he's a good, good player.

The problem, of course, is that what team would want to sign him to a long-term deal when there’s so much uncertainty about the 2011 season? The Rams also are going through an ownership change, which certainly isn’t helping matters.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 9:28 pm

Bulluck keeping his options open

There’s little doubt that LB Keith Bulluck really wants a job. But would he go as far as playing for the Detroit Lions? Well, maybe he doesn’t want a job that bad.

Bulluck, interviewed by Sirius NFL Radio on Thursday, said he’d like to play for the New York Giants, but he also said he could persuaded to return to Tennessee – the only place he’s ever played and where he’s recorded at least 125 tackles five times this decade. But he’s coming off ACL surgery, and though he could return by the first week of the NFL game schedule, he’s also 33 years old.

Sure, he could be ready to play by September, but he likely wouldn’t be 100 percent until a few months into the season. He’s coming off a 108-tackle season in just 14 games, but is he worth the risk?

The Lions, though, could be looking (along with the Titans, for the record) for somebody just like him. One positive aspect about playing for the Lions: he’d be reunited with former Tennessee defensive coordinator and current head coach Jim Schwartz.

"I'm very familiar with their system and very familiar with those people,” Bulluck said in his interview. “That coaching staff, I know they're working to go in the right direction at Detroit. How many wins did they have last year? I'll tell you, (the Lions) are one of those teams that's up-and-coming. But honestly, to be 100 percent honest, I want to play for a championship. If it comes down to it, if my option is to go to Detroit, yeah, all right, that's what we gotta do. Because I'm gonna play football, regardless.’’

To answer his question, the Lions won two games last year - a huge improvement over their zero-win 2008.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 8:55 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 8:57 pm

Questions arise about cause of Hixon's injury

It sounds like New York Giants GM Jerry Reese and S Antrel Rolle disagree on what caused WR Domenik Hixon’s ACL injury Tuesday.

Reese said it had nothing to do with the new FieldTurf surface at New Meadowlands Stadium. Rolle said the turf is exactly what caused the injury.

"I was right there when it happened and I saw it right away," Rolle told ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Thursday. "And I was like, 'Damn, it don't look good.' He didn't make a cut or anything. It just got caught in the turf."

Reese, however, said the injury could have occurred on any surface, and although coach Tom Coughlin originally said he thought Hixon’s foot got caught, he later recanted that story after watching film of the practice.

Giants players told reporters that the turf felt slippery, and Rolle said it felt like his feet were burning and that “it just didn’t feel good to me at all.”

Youngmisuk also spoke to a FieldTurf representative. From the story:

Chip Namias, a spokesman for FieldTurf, said it typically takes a few weeks for the surface to settle in and he was told the team did not believe the field was responsible for Hixon's injury. "With all due and sincere respect to Antrel Rolle, who is a wonderful player, he is simply not medically trained or qualified to make such a statement," Namias said on Thursday. "The people who run NFL teams are ultra conscientious, and there's a very good reason why 21 of the 32 member clubs use FieldTurf."

It seems unlikely that the turf would be replaced, but if so, it’d have to be a joint decision between the Jets and the Giants.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 8:40 pm

Penn to skip mini-camp

The latest with Tampa Bay LT Donald Penn is that he’s not planning to show up for next week’s Buccaneers mini-camp. This, according to the St. Petersburg Times .

Penn, a restricted free agent, was offered a $3.168 million tender, but because he refused to sign by Tuesday’s deadline, the team lowered the offer by $100,000. Penn – like just about everybody else who didn’t sign their tenders – wants a long-term deal.

The reason why he might not get one? Well, according to – a Bucs fan site – Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik told a group of season-ticket holders Wednesday that Penn put on too much weight for the team to offer him a long-term extension. Though erased the original post because “people are going NUTS,” Tampa Bay officials told that the question-and-answer session was supposed to be off the record.

"I'm really disappointed," Dominik said in comments that Pro Football Talk has kept on its site. "When you think about a left tackle and how important that position is, especially to a young franchise quarterback. And that guy during the season gains 40 pounds and basically turns his back to nutrition and keeping himself in shape, that's disappointing to me. Rightfully so. I'm just being blatantly honest with you. And I expected better from him.”

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 7:38 pm

Tulloch still a no-show

Titans LB Stephen Tulloch signed his restricted free agent tender Monday, meaning he’ll play the 2010 season for about $2.5 million. Yet, Tulloch is nowhere to be found .

It is believed the fifth-year player who excels as a run-stopper wants a long-term contract deal, especially after last season when he recorded a career-high (and a team-high) 121 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

“He has missed an awful lot,’’ coach Jeff Fisher told the Tennessean. “Hopefully we’ll get things worked out and whenever he does decide to show up we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in and try and get him back in the defense.’’

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: Tennis
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