Saturday, May 25, 2024

Chicago Bears Have Been Forced By NFL To Forfeit OTA Practice

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Matt Eberflus has already set the tone for the new Chicago Bears regime. With the next string of Organized Team Activity practices set to begin, the team was slapped with a punishment from the NFL. According to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, the team was forced to forfeit their Tuesday practice session due to a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement involving excessive physicality during previous OTA practices in May.

This is hardly the first such incident the league has seen. Last year alone saw the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, and Jacksonville Jaguars all lose OTA practices and even receive fines for similar violations. The Baltimore Ravens did it twice in a three-year span between 2016 and 2018. Hearing such things makes one wonder if those teams forgot the rules or if they intentionally sacrificed future practices in order to get what they felt was more meaningful work done with some physicality.

“According to the league source, the Bears were warned for having practices featuring too much contact last month with requests made that they alter their practice activity to adjust. Eventually, when proper adjustments weren’t made, the NFL Players Association was asked to get involved and the NFL stepped in, deciding that the team was in violation of league rules. As a result, the Bears were required to forfeit one of their OTA practices.”

The Chicago Bears may have simply let things get too spirited.

One thing that is easy to forget is many players on the roster aren’t locked to make it. Journeyman veterans along with low-drafted and undrafted rookies know their odds aren’t strong to earn a spot on the final 53. So they go a little harder during minicamps and OTAs because they feel they have to. Coaches let it slide because they like the energy it brings, but the NFL and NFL Players Association have worked to discourage this behavior because it can lead to unnecessary injuries.

Or perhaps it was Eberflus wanting to send a message to his players. He expects violence and physicality on this team and was willing to sacrifice a summer practice in shorts to do so. It seems rather appropriate when those comparisons to John Harbaugh (head coach of the Ravens) came out. It’s barely been a few months and he already shares one thing in common with the man.

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