The Lions Got Busted For OTA Rule Violations

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell speaks to the media before practice begins during the Detroit Lions Organized Team Activities (OTAs) at their headquarters in Allen Park, Mich. on Thursday, May 23, 2024.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell speaks to the media before practice begins during the Detroit Lions Organized Team Activities (OTAs) at their headquarters in Allen Park, Mich. on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

The Detroit Lions are being punished for violating the NFL’s rules on permissible contact during organized team activities.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter has the news of the Lions’ punishment, while the team has issued a statement on the matter:

“On Friday evening the organization was made aware by the NFL and NFLPA that Organized Team Activities (OTA) practices held the week of May 27 violated player work rules pertaining to on-field physical contact pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As a result, the team’s OTA practice scheduled for Monday, June 10 has been forfeited. We take very seriously the rules set forth within the NFL’s Offseason Program and have worked to conduct our practices accordingly. We will continue to be vigilant with our practices moving forward.”

As a result for having practices that were deemed too physical by the league’s standards, the Detroit Lions are being forced to forfeit Monday’s scheduled OTAs practice. So instead of a three-day week to end the team’s organized team activities for the offseason before the squad enters the summer break portion of its schedule. To that, I give a resounding and overdramatic mega-eye roll.

Whoopdiedoo! Lions players don’t get to practice on Monday. That’s not a punishment. At least, I wouldn’t see it as a punishment. I can’t imagine players seeing it as a punishment through their eyes either.

Not having to work on a Monday sounds like a reward to me. Who wants to work on a Monday? Not me. And not anyone I know. I’d bet a dollar to a donut (sorry for being late to the National Donut Day party) that Detroit players, coaches, and staffers will likely use their “punishment” day to get off their feet. Maybe they’ll get a round of golf in with friends. What’s there to do for funsies on a Monday in Detroit? Perhaps figuring that out would be more of a sufficient punishment. But this is nothing more than a slap on the wrist — and I’ll hear nothing to contrary. This is, at most, a warning shot.

Lions coach Dan Campbell talks to a referee regarding offensive tackle Taylor Decker's 2-point conversion catch against the Cowboys being called illegal touching during the second half of the Lions' 20-19 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Dec. 30, 2023.
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Lions “punished” for OTA rules violations

On the one hand, there is no way the Lions are the only team breaking the NFL’s rules pertaining the league’s offseason training program. At a minimum, you know 31 other teams are at least pushing the boundaries. And while it was Detroit getting caught red-handed this time around, it would be foolish to believe they’re the Lions are the only one doing it. But on the other hand, if you get caught then you should deal with actual consequences if the wrongdoing was egregious. It’s that simple for me.

It is funny that this pops upas news because it wasn’t all that long ago the Bears were caught in the crosshairs of the NFL’s OTA practice training policy.

If you’ll recall, the Bears were forced to cancel an OTAs practice in June 2022 for violating the league’s rules about contact at OTAs. It came at an uneasy time for Bears football that had my mind going in a bunch of different directions (you can re-visit my thoughts on the matter here). I thought there were some who made too big of a fuss pop the whole ordeal. And for what it’s worth, the NFL didn’t even fine Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus (or anyone else, for that matter) for their misdeeds at OTAs. So odds are that the Lions won’t face a more severe punishment either.

But with that being said, maybe the NFL should draw a more firm line in the sand. Perhaps one way to do that is to throw the book at the Lions. Spare no expense and make an example of ’em, Commissioner Goodell! Make them forfeit games. Maybe start with any Thanksgiving Day matchups, just as an example.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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