ASHBURN, Va. — The NFL fined Washington COs coach Ron Rivera $100,000 and stripped the team of two OTA workouts in 2023 for making excessive contact during spring drills, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
The NFL Players Association reviewed the practice video on June 1 and 8 – at the request of the commanders – and informed the NFL management board that it believes these practices violated the “ban on live contact” of the collective agreement. The board, after reviewing the practices, agreed.
The NFL informed Washington general manager Martin Mayhew by letter of the sanctions. The letter stated “there is no doubt” that a team is doing this to gain a competitive advantage.
The commanders, who completed spring training on Thursday, declined to comment.
According to the letter, “Washington’s intensity and tempo of the club’s inside line play and pass coverage during 11-on-11 drills was at a level where the players were clearly engaged in physical competition.” He said that on more than one play there was excessive contact between players which resulted in players going to ground.
“In some cases,” the letter states, “players were slow to recover from these collisions.”
The letter said Rivera should step in when practices get too physical and remind players of the rules and “maintain appropriate control” over practice.
On June 8, Washington safety Jeremy Reaves crashed into receiver Dyami Brown as the two went for the ball. Reaves later said he hadn’t seen Brown cut off traffic or he would have pulled over. After the game, Brown lingered on the floor, walked slowly to the sideline, and was then escorted into the facility. Rivera stopped training and yelled at his players to play smarter and more disciplined and ended this full team session prematurely.
He later said that Brown had pain in his shoulder. Brown attended the mandatory three-day minicamp a week later.
“We just have to be careful and work with each other,” Rivera told media after the collision. “The last thing we want is for anyone to get hurt. There’s a certain discipline that I try to impress on the guys that they understand that when we’re talking about doing things in a specific way , there’s a reason why. We don’t want to see guys get hurt.
“I really appreciate the way they train, the way they train hard and they get competitive from time to time, but we have to have the discipline to understand.”
A source said there have been worse collisions than this at other media-closed practices.
During the two canceled OTA trainings, players cannot train at the facilities, but all players who participate in the off-season training program will be paid for those days.
Last week, Rivera fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for comments comparing the events of January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol to rioters and looters during the summer of 2020. Rivera said the comment by Del Rio calling Jan. 6 “dust” created a distraction for the team.