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Lions lose OTA practice session after violating offseason rules regarding on-field contact

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The Detroit Lions are losing one of their organized team activity practices due to violating rules regarding offseason workouts. Detroit will forfeit its June 10 practice session.

While the team did not reveal the specific violation, the rules in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association concern on-field contact during offseason practices. The Lions issued a statement that acknowledged the rules violation and forfeiting an OTA session as a result.

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“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,” the statement said. “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,” the statement continued. “We will continue to be vigilant with our practices moving forward.”

The section in the CBA regarding on-field contact reads as follows (via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers):

“No live contact is permitted (during OTAs). No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive lineman vs. defensive lineman pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted) except that, outside of the 10-yard line, simulated press coverage is permitted using hand placement (versus jamming) during 11-on-11 drills and related position group one-on-one drills (e.g., footwork and release work (no “live-contact” or “bump-and-run”).”

The section goes on to explain that hand contact between a defensive player and receiver is allowed as long as the receiver is not impeded or forced to alter his route due to live contact.

That leaves several possibilities as to what occurred during the Lions practice in question. Was it a play between offensive and defensive lineman or did it involve receivers and defensive backs? OTA sessions held during the week of May 27 were not open to the media, according to several reporters covering the team.

The June 10 practice being forfeited is part of a three-day OTA period for rookies and younger players. Veterans will not participate after finishing Detroit’s mandatory minicamp this past week. The team’s next gather for training camp in late July.

Last season, the New England Patriots lost two offseason practices due to violating CBA rules. Then-head coach Bill Belichick was also fined $50,000. Other NFL teams have had to forfeit practices for violations in recent years, including the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens.

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