For the Seattle Seahawks, the first on-the-field activities for the 2017 NFL season will have to wait a few more days, even though the rest of the league began their organized team activities this week.
For the second time in three years, the Seahawks organization was penalized by the NFL for violating rules in the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement around physical contact in offseason practices. Specifically, the league rule that the Seahawks “engaged in excessive on-field physical contact” during the team’s practices in the spring of 2016, and levied a harsh penalty because of the organization’s repeat offense. The team was fined $400,000, and was required to forfeit their first week of organized team activities in 2017. On top of that, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was fined $200,000 himself, and the team also had to forfeit a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The ruling came after the league and the players union independently reviewed video of a practice taking place in June of 2016. They concluded that the team had violated the “no-live-contact” rule. The NFL announced Monday the Seahawks will be fined and forfeit their first week of organized team activities (three practices) next year, as well as a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft because they’re repeat offenders. Coach Pete Carroll also was fined $200,000.
The Seahawks first faced similar charges around excessive physicality back in a 2014 mandatory minicamp, and were docked two days of their 2015 mandatory minicamp. It was reported by that the team and Carroll were collectively fined $300,000.
It’s no secret that the Seattle Seahawks are one of the league’s most physically imposing teams, especially on defense. So, it would only seem to follow that the coaching staff would implement such a culture and a modus operandi for the team when they practice. But while Carroll has always been known for wanting tough, fast, and physical defenses, it’s also well-known that he’s a “player’s coach,” meaning that he’ll more often look out for the concerns and well-being of his guys, instead of trying to be the unforgiving and militaristic style of coach.
Regardless, the team now enters the 2017 almost a week behind their competitors. The common fan might not believe this is a big deal, but try telling that to Seattle’s front office and coaching staff. This is when those individuals get their first look at players, and gets their first chance to really see how players have come along since last year, and how all their offseason additions will fit into their plan for the upcoming year. For a team that kept its nucleus intact in the offseason, the Seahawks could still be looking at having as many as seven new starters among the 22 starting positions on offense in defense.
Point being, the team needs all the time they can get to get the players back in shape, and get the new guys up to speed in the way Seattle does things. And hopefully, that way of doing things will abide by the rules in the NFL’s CBA moving forward.