The Ravens are being investigated by the NFL for potentially violating the collective bargaining agreement by having first-year and tryout players in full pads during rookie minicamp, according to an ESPN report Monday.
One team official said he wasn't aware of the investigation. However, another Ravens official confirmed ESPN's version of events, and acknowledged that the players were in full pads for a five-minute portion of the May 6 practice during which the team was doing a non-contact punt protection drill.
When it was brought to the team's attention that it could be violating the CBA, the Ravens consulted with their players' union representative, tight end Benjamin Watson, and they had the players take off their shoulder pads, a team official said. They then resumed the drill.
It's unclear who reported the potential violation to the league or the players' union.
It is against CBA rules to have fully-padded practices in both rookie minicamp and organized team activities, which start next week for the Ravens. A certain number of such practices are permitted when training camp begins in late July.
All of the Ravens' practices, including the rookie minicamp, are taped, so it shouldn't take the league too long to figure out the extent of the possible violation.
In 2010, the Ravens were found in violation of the rules "concerning the intensity and tempo of drills" during the OTAs, and also the amount of time players were spending at the team facility. The league ordered the Ravens to forfeit their final week of OTAs.
In 2007, the Oakland Raiders canceled their final week of their offseason program after the players' union believed the team violated league rules with the intensity and tempo of its practices. In 2014, the Seattle Seahawks and their coach Pete Carroll were fined more than $300,000 by the league and ordered to cancel two future minicamp practices because of violations of collectively-bargained rules on the amount of contact in offseason practices.
The NFL did not return a request for comment from The Sun.