For the second time in three years and third time since 2010, the Ravens will forfeit organized team workouts and face fines because they violated NFL rules governing contact during offseason drills, the team and league announced Wednesday.
“The Baltimore Ravens will forfeit two Organized Team Activity (OTA) days (June 7 and 8), and both the club and head coach John Harbaugh have been fined under the Collective Bargaining Agreement for a violation of the offseason workout rules,” the league said in an afternoon statement.
In a statement released by the team, Harbaugh said: “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.”
The Ravens are fined and forfeit two days of OTAs this week after violating NFL rules governing contact during offseason drills.
He said the punishment relates to “pass coverage contact during the early part of OTAs.”
Harbaugh added that the rules governing such drills have been difficult for coaches and players to implement.
“We have heavily emphasized these CBA pass coverage rules in meetings, and coached them diligently on the practice field,” he said. “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.”
General manager Ozzie Newsome also defended the team’s efforts.
“We are vigilant about practicing within the Collective Bargaining Rules,” he said in a statement. “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 faced similar penalties in 2016, when they lost three days of OTA sessions because they practiced in pads for part of a rookie minicamp workout. Harbaugh was fined in connection with that violation.
In 2010, the Ravens were forced to cancel an offseason camp after violating the CBA's offseason workout rules. The penalty came after the NFL Players Association filed a complaint against the Ravens over the intensity and tempo of drills conducted at their offseason camps, as well as the length of time players spent at the team's facility.