Saunders, Clark & Lewis Kicked Out Of Steelers Facilty Saturday Because Of New CBA Rule

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders posted on Twitter today that he, Ryan Clark and Keenan Lewis were kicked out of the team facility today for trying to workout. The reason Saunders gave is that the new CBA, that was agreed to last offseason, states that players are not allowed to workout on the weekend, even if it is voluntary.

You can see that in APPENDIX G of the CBA, which I posted below, that it states the rules in regard to offseason workouts. It states that player workouts must be voluntary in nature and can not take place on weekends, except for certain specified minicamps. While the rookie minicamps are taking place this weekend for the Steelers, it is for those players only.

While you can certainly understand the beef of Saunders and Clark, the rules are unfortunately the rules. One would think that with the huge hurdles that the NFL is jumping over in regard to player safety that they would want players to be under supervision of their own teams\’ strength and workout coordinators, so as to make sure that the players are working out correctly, and that they do not hurt themselves. Voluntary is voluntary, correct? The fear I assume is that some teams might take advantage of this and “strongly urge” that players voluntarily come in on the weekends to workout.

So what happened to the group after being forced out of the facility today? Clark tweeted that he was off to a local fitness center to finish his workout.

Except for certain specified minicamps, any offseason workout programs or classroom instruction shall be strictly voluntary. No Club official shall indicate to a player that the Club’s offseason workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary (or that a player’s failure to participate in a workout program or classroom instruction will result in the player’s failure to make the Club or any other adverse consequences). Offseason programs may take place for nine weeks. Workouts shall be limited to four days per week; such workout programs are not permitted on weekends. The nine weeks may include no more than ten days of organized team practice activity. This does not preclude any player from working out on his own on other days, including weekends. Contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run), is expressly prohibited in all offseason workouts.
Voluntary offseason 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.
Teams are to provide their players and the NFL the schedule for the program, including designation of any days on which organized team practice activity will take place, pursuant to the rules set forth in Article 21 and any changes to the schedule for the program.
The following rules shall also apply to the ten days of organized team practice activity:
• No pads except protective knee or elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.
• All organized team practice activity shall be conducted pursuant to the rules for Phase Three activities, which are set forth in Article 21, Section 2(b)(iii) of this Agreement.
• 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 offseason to ensure player safety and adherence to live contact guidelines.
• Maximum six hours per day, with a maximum two hours on field, for any player.

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