- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2005

The Washington Redskins are being investigated by the NFL and NFL Players Association for potential violations of “organized team activity” rules and could lose a portion of their remaining offseason workout program as a result.

The controversy ironically stems from the Redskins’ decision to broadcast parts of OTAs on redskins.com, the team’s official Web site. The offseason practices otherwise are closed to the public and media.

Normally OTA violations are reported anonymously by a player on the team in question. But no Redskins complained about what was happening during practice, according to several sources including veteran offensive lineman and union rep Ray Brown.

“If players felt there was some type of violation, I believe guys would speak up,” Brown said.

Sources familiar with the investigation said the union already has viewed an offending clip in which Redskins offensive and defensive linemen went 1-on-1 in fairly aggressive fashion.

Such activity would violate NFL rules because 1-on-1 drills aren’t permitted during OTAs, NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis confirmed. Coach Joe Gibbs admitted the club has been doing 1-on-1s, an indication Washington could face at least some penalty.

The activity also could be in violation because of the level of contact. OTAs are supposed to be noncontact, though it is understood some jostling and bumping occurs. Gibbs contended the Redskins were well within the spirit of the rules.

“There’s not competitive stuff,” Gibbs said. “What they don’t want is 1-on-1, physical stuff, obviously competitive, where you wind up with players on the ground, you get injuries and things like that. That’s our concern, too.”

Of the Redskins’ general level of contact, left tackle Chris Samuels said, “We’re locking up, just working on our hand placement and technique, but we’re not finishing guys, driving guys to the ground, or anything like that.”

None of the clips currently on redskins.com show any offending activity. Gibbs said he thinks some clips have been removed from the Web site. A club spokesman said the NFL has been sent all the team’s practice video, both from redskins.com and the video department.

Another NFC East team, the Philadelphia Eagles, already has been penalized this offseason for rules violations. The Eagles lost a week of activities (May 16-23) because several players reportedly showed up to train before the offseason start date the club had sent to the league.

Last year two clubs were penalized for offseason rules violations: the Arizona Cardinals, who reportedly allowed live hitting, and the New York Giants, whose new coach, Tom Coughlin, reportedly ran workouts too long and tried to make voluntary activities mandatory.

Francis said the potential penalty “kind of varies,” and that it would be “left up to what the league sees fit.” He mentioned the Eagles’ penalty as a benchmark. A source familiar with the investigation said a decision could come soon enough to affect Washington’s remaining two weeks of OTAs.

Gibbs said the team hasn’t changed anything about its practice regimen in the wake of the investigation, which was first reported by profootballtalk.com, a Web log focused on the NFL. The coach doesn’t expect a penalty but said, “We’ll see. Somebody may interpret something there and have a different opinion about it.”

Notes ? Linebacker Mike Barrow expects to be healthy enough to participate in the June 17-19 minicamp. A source said earlier this week Washington still wants to see whether Barrow, rumored to be a potential post-June 1 cut, can get healthy. Return man Chad Morton still is expected to be released in coming days. …

Players will report to training camp July 31 and camp will open on Aug. 1. Camp will be held at Redskin Park for the third straight year.


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