The Ravens’ final two Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices for June 7-8 have been cut by the NFL after a violation of the offseason workout rules.
In addition, Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh have both been fined.
The Ravens also lost three OTA practices because of rules violations in 2016 after the team reportedly briefly conducted a non-contact punt protection drill with pads during rookie minicamp. Baltimore also lost a week of practices in 2010.
Ravens coaches and front-office personnel have gone to great lengths to stay within the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules and tried to enforce them during practice with players.
Harbaugh indicated that the violation came because of pass coverage contact, and General Manager Ozzie Newsome said rookies can especially struggle to adapt to the NFL’s strict practice rules.
Here are the full statements from Harbaugh and Newsome:
“We take very seriously reading, understanding, abiding by and playing by the rules. Our coaches, staff and players have worked extremely hard to run the offseason program according to all the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules. Our team has been singled out for pass coverage contact during the early part of OTAs. We have heavily emphasized these CBA pass coverage rules in meetings, and coached them diligently on the practice field. It has also been our priority to include our veteran players, along with new Ravens who have practiced and played for other teams, in the process and use their input and ideas. Even with consistent and repeated teaching, these rules pose considerable adjustments for the young players. We have tried very hard to eliminate contact in pass coverage during OTAs, even so far as to pull players out of practice who struggle with these adjustments. I am confident we have done everything within our power and ability to practice within the rules, and we will continue to focus on preparing, teaching and practicing the right way.”
“We are vigilant about practicing within the Collective Bargaining Rules. I am. John [Harbaugh] and his assistants are. I attend every practice and then watch the practices again on video. I see how the coaching staff teaches, corrects and addresses issues immediately on the field. In meetings, I have watched John’s presentation to his players and assistants regarding how to properly practice and the pace of these sessions. We have players competing, including rookies and those fighting to make our team. Sometimes breaking old practice habits of these players, especially rookies, takes more repetitions. We’ll continue to be vigilant about this.”
The Ravens will be back on the practice field next week for three days of mandatory minicamp (June 12-14).