Lions docked OTA session due to violation

    NFL offseasons occasionally feature teams running into CBA-driven trouble due to overly physical workouts. This year, the Lions have run afoul of the league’s policy on OTA contact.

    The defending NFC North champions revealed the NFL and NFLPA informed them of a late-May OTA violation. The team conducted at least one workout deemed too physical for the offseason setting. Per usual in this sort of violation, the NFL docked the Lions a future OTA day. Detroit’s Monday session will be canceled, the team announced.

    Far from the first team to encounter an issue stemming from its offseason program, the Lions still have multiple OTA sessions scheduled. The team conducted its minicamp, usually the final part of clubs’ offseason itineraries, this week but had three more OTAs set for June 10-12. That number will be trimmed to two before the Lions disperse before training camp in late July.

    OTA workouts do not feature pads, as the past two CBAs have significantly restricted the number of padded practices teams can conduct either in-season or ahead of it. Players traded part of their revenue split for improved working conditions. Since 2011, that has meant a limited offseason program and a low cap on the number of padded workouts permissible during a season. As a result, shoulder pads do not come on until several days into training camp.

    This news comes as the NFLPA plans to unveil a polarizing plan to restructure the offseason program. The union’s rumored offering will eliminate OTAs from the calendar, extending the break between the season and the following training camp. Although the proposed setup would include a lengthy ramp-up period ahead of training camp, the union’s plan cutting into the calendar’s summer break has generated pushback among NFL staffers — and some players — who use the June-July off period to spend time with family.

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