The NFL announced yesterday that the Ravens will forfeit the final week of their OTAs because they violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s offseason workout rules.
The issues in question were the intensity and tempo of drills and the length of time spent by players at the team’s facility on OTA days.
After today’s practice, head coach John Harbaugh shed some light on the violations and the team’s reaction to the sentence handed down by the league.
Harbaugh said the process started when Ravens’ player reps Todd Heap and Chris Carr came to him with complaints about six players being kept in meetings too long and two players being kept on the practice fields too long during the first voluntary minicamp.
“They came to me shortly after the first OTA week and said they felt like we had an issue,” Harbaugh said. “They told me about it, we stopped it immediately; the league came back and called us about it, we sent everything we had to the league, all our tapes, all of our schedules, everything we did, and they came back with taking away the last two OTA practices, which I agree with.
“I’m accountable for that. As an organization we want to do things the right way, we want to be within the rules at all times, we want our players to communicate with us when they have an issue, and they did. We deserve to lose those last two days. So, that’s the way it goes.”
As for the intensity of the workouts, Harbaugh said the league saw “a few plays” where the physicality might have crossed the line. The main issue in that area, Harbaugh said, is keeping everyone healthy.
“We need everybody going into training camp,” Harbaugh said. “We don’t need someone falling and hurting a shoulder, we don’t want someone getting pulled down and pulling a hamstring, and the only way we can do that is for the players to take care of each other. So, we work really hard to do that. I’m sure there were instances where it got a little more competitive than it should have. But I think our players, all in all, do a really good job of taking care of each other.”
The Ravens will forfeit their previously scheduled special teams camp next week, and the sessions cannot be rescheduled. Veterans will not be allowed at the team’s complex, and they will be paid for the sessions, however rookies can still come in to lift, run and participate in football work.
“I don’t think [losing the OTAs] will hurt us at all,” Harbaugh said. “I think it hurts us in the sense that, I’ll be honest, it’s a little bit embarrassing. I don’t want the Ravens’ name out there with losing two OTA practices.
“But we’ve gotten so much done through the offseason, our guys have worked so hard every single day just like today, I think we’ve more than accomplished what we hoped to in the offseason already.”
Harbaugh said he isn’t bothered by the fact that the violations were reported to the Players Association.
“We’re trying to be transparent in everything we do,” he said. “We’re not trying to hide behind ‘Hey we’re going to meet longer’ or something like that. We made a mistake. We ran over and we shouldn’t have. I want our guys to be transparent about it, tell me about it when they know about it, which they did, and we’ll correct it. And that’s what we did.”