The NFL’s rules for organized team activities — or OTAs, as we know them — require that these offseason workouts, drills, and minicamps are of the non-contact variety. But it appears the Chicago Bears have broken these rules. And are being punished by the league for their actions.
Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune has the scoop:
According to a league source, the Bears were forced to wipe today’s OTA practice off the books completely after violating the offseason rules of the CBA with live contact during their May practices, which is prohibited.
A misstep by the new regime.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 7, 2022
Per Wiederer’s reporting, the Bears had to bang Tuesday’s scheduled practice because the team had live contact practices during May practices. Wiederer adds that the team was warned for having its practices featuring too much contact, but did not make the proper alterations. That led the NFLPA and NFL to step in, which ultimately led to the league stripping the team of today’s workout. Chicago had a three-day rookie minicamp on May 6-8, as well two separate OTA prates (May 16, 17, 19 and May 23, 24, and 26). At some point during those practices, the Bears crossed the line in terms of what was acceptable. And now, they are dealing with the repercussions of their habitual line-stepping.
Folks are going to have a field day with this, as it represents a second notable offseason stumble for the Ryan Poles-Matt Eberflus regime. First, it was the Larry Ogunjobi signing and retraction of his deal after a failed physical at the outset of free agency. A process that might’ve cost the Bears to miss out on other targets. Now … it is a rules violation that comes with the team not making adjustments despite a warning. That’s not a good look.
However, I suppose there is one way you can spin it positively. After years of complaints from fans who feel as if the Bears got soft during the Nagy era, the Eberflus regime begins with a bit of a toughening-up process in offseason practices. Part of me can vibe with trying to work players as much as they can as they learn a new scheme and system from a new staff. But it probably shouldn’t have crossed whatever lines the league has drawn in the sand.