Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Virginian-Pilot: More practice just part of the deal for NFL players


Recommended Posts

More practice just part of the deal for NFL players

By BOB MOLINARO, The Virginian-Pilot


It seems to come as a surprise to some pro football players that employment in the NFL has become a fulltime job.

That means 12 months a year, or pretty close to it.

With the proliferation of mandatory minicamps and "voluntary" team activities that many players consider effectively mandatory, more and more NFL working stiffs find themselves toiling at their craft during periods once considered the offseason.

And many don’t like it. Every team, it seems, has players who decline to participate in the voluntary sessions or who openly complain about the increased regimens and speed of the drills. It’s just too much like football, they seem to be saying.

In comments recently posted on the New York Jets’ Web site, Jets center Kevin Mawae groused that minicamps are just "another way for coaches to get more practice time out of players three months before the season even starts."

To a point, the NFL Players Association tries to protect players from overzealous coaches. It monitors spring and summer sessions, looking to file complaints. That’s what happened last week after highlights of a Redskins’ nopads practice were posted on the team’s Web site. The league agreed with the Players Association that the drills were too physical. The Skins were found guilty of violating the rule forbidding "live contact drills between offensive and defensive linemen" in the offseason.

As a result, the team won’t be permitted to hold Organized Team Activities, not even player meetings or conditioning sessions at Redskin Park, for three days beginning today.

No big loss. Because on Friday, the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp starts. At all NFL minicamps, the workouts are more intense than they used to be, with coaches pushing harder, always looking for an edge.

The Indianapolis Colts just wrapped up a fourweek summer school that coach Tony Dungy said will allow the coaching staff "to space things out and not cram so many things into training camp."

Times have changed a lot since players used the offseason to work other jobs, to supplement their NFL income. There’s no denying that pro football is a dangerous occupation that can inflict lifelong disabilities. On the other hand, players are handsomely rewarded for a season that, even when you include August and the playoffs, lasts only six months.

There’s a difference between acknowledging an NFL player’s rigorous working conditions and feeling sorry for him because he’s being asked to drill with his teammates when he could be on another deep-sea fishing expedition. With the money players are paid, Joe Sixpack naturally will side with owners and coaches who want their athletes thinking football year-round, even allowing for a relatively liberal vacation schedule.

No question, football, especially as it’s fought out in the trenches, isn’t as much fun to practice as, say, basketball. And the disparity in the physical comfort level between baseball’s spring training and football’s August camps is like the difference between sunbathing and coal mining.

But this is the business NFL players have chosen.

It could be worse. For pro footballers across the pond, what we call soccer players, demands on an athlete’s time and talents are even greater.

Liverpool, the famous English team, starts preseason training June 27, only 33 days after winning the Champions League, Europe’s biggest club competition. Liverpool will turn around and play its first meaningful game the second week of July.

Meanwhile, the Patriots and Eagles, the final two NFL teams standing last season, will go six months between games.

Plenty of time for a little extra practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like there is more and more pressure all the time to work harder year-round to gain an edge in the NFL. Perhaps that's as it should be, huh? I mean, a little extra hard work and the opportunity to improve oneself is the Amercian way, is it not?

On the other hand, with as tough as the NFL season/schedule is, I wouldn't say that it's currently a walk-in-the-park either, even considering the off-season. A number of players get injured as a result of the rigors of the game and are able to make use of the down-time in the offseason to recover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I don't feel that sorry for them.

I work a lousy job that makes me work 13 hour shifts, I barely have time to use the bathroom and on many occasions don't eat since I'm too busy (BTW I do not get manditory breaks or lunches) and I need to be alert the whole time.

So, they have to go and do extra practices to make the squad. boo-hoo.


I signed a 2 year contract (in my final year). I got a nice signing bonus with said contract, but will have to give back the entire bonus if I quit. So, unlike NFL players, I can't hold out for another deal b/c I'm not happy with my current contract. If I did that, I lose my job and owe my company a big signing bonus.

Maybe I should hire Rosenhaus to be my agent?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't feel sorry for them, but I don't feel sorry for myself either. I played football in high school. Man, summer training camp in the midst of all that heat was no picnic. No, I'll take the a/c, my desk, and my pc any day thank you.

Scratch that, maybe for a cool 5 mil, I'd be willing to try to whip myself into good enough shape to get clocked by Ray Lewis and come out of it with a few teeth left.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

crybabies, sure the off-season practice regimen is more strict. However, so what. Even the most young and lowest of players get at least 300-400k a year. Plust many of them have already received some signing bonus to have lower salaries early on.

A Doctor in contrast, 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, 3-5 years of residency. Most dont even make it into a med school right out of college, they take a year off. You are paid during residency, a bare amount to survive. You are looking to be 30-32 before you can conceive of making that 300-400k. That also is a year round job, not just having one practice a week or so during the months of february-july.

Difference I guess is that an NFL players career usually ends by 35-40 or earlier. If they wanna play well, they should be able to take the beatings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. S.....

Actually, I think the average NFL career is about 2.5 to 3.5 years.

In some ways, I do sympathize with them. As you can see from my sig, I'm a MuayThai (kickboxing) coach. Its a rough sport, too. I've had a very limited fighting career. I've had 15 fights in 12 years. But the training and competing are really rough. I've done a lot of damage to myself that I will likely have deal with for the remainder of my life.

However, to me its all a matter of choice. We all CHOOSE how we're going to make our way in this world. I chose kickboxing, NFL'ers chose football. No one walks in not knowing the rigors of their sport. If they don't want to sacrifice their bodys to play the game, then they should have chosen another path.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can understand that there are agreements in place wherein player activity is limited. As such, I don't necessarily fault the players for complaining when those agreements are broken by NFL clubs. But, it seems to me that if you love football and have the chance to make a lot of money being good at it, that you ought to want to put your best effort forward. In fact, being a conservative such as I am, I don't really like any rules saying you can't work to get better at what you do whenever you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the real problem is that a lot of these guys play football cause they are good at it, and it pays well, but don't have a real passion for the game. If you did have this passion, then I can't see why you wouldn't spend everyday refining your skill and getting stronger...your career only lasts 10 years max(if you're lucky), so you should want put 110% in to it every day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...