By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
Managing the offseason: The new rules limiting players’ involvement in offseason organized team activites (OTAs) was one of the few victories gained by NFL players in the new labor agreement.
The rules restrict the number of days players can be on the field – even the number of hours (four) they can be in the team headquarters on a given day.
Players also demanded – and received – that no minicamp could be held over a weekend. So that’s why Pat Shurmur’s one mandatory, full-team minicamp is slated for Wednesday through Friday, June 5-7.
You can imagine NFL management negotiators gritting through their teeth, “Man, you guys are tough. Well, OK, no minicamps on weekends.” Followed by uproarious laughter when they got to their private jets.
So these new offseason rules come off as a bone thrown to the players to make them feel they didn’t get totally hornswaggled in the past labor talks. But, in truth, they are a good thing.
These offseason conditioning programs had gotten way out of hand. Players spent too much time in meeting rooms, too much time on the practice field and too much time making physical on the field for the months of April, May and June.
When the offseason conditioning programs originated back in the mid-1980s, they consisted of players checking in for the first time after winter break, standing on a scale to see how much weight they’d gained since the season ended, lifting weights, and then choosing sides for some pick-up basketball games.
Reporters used to talk to the players in between bench-press sets.
In 20 years, it blew up to the point where a simple day of practice on the field in shorts and T-shirts became a news event in the middle of June.
These new rules scale it back some. But you wonder if the offseason could be reduced even further. After all, did anyone notice the 2011 season went off without a hitch, despite having the total offseason wiped out by the owners lockout? Well, most every place except here.
Paging Colt McCoy: The Browns’ quarterback is in attendance for the start of the Browns’ offseason program. But he has been AWOL from media interviews.
The job description of an NFL quarterback includes responding to questions about his offseason and his slant on what’s transpired since he exited last season. In McCoy’s case, there’s much to be asked.
A quarterback can’t just choose to talk when he has a book or some other product to peddle. Like or not, McCoy is the No. 1 spokesman among the Browns’ players. He has to accept that part of the job.
It’s well past time for McCoy to stand up and let us hear his thoughts on the way the past season ended and the Browns’ pursuit of a franchise quarterback.
Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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