A couple of months ago, left tackle Jason Peters was coming off the best season of his career and preparing to lead a very strong Philadelphia Eagles offensive line into a season of teetering hope and expectations. Then he tore his Achilles tendon during a workout and had to have surgery to repair it. Then he tore it again after falling from the device he was using to help get around post-surgery, and he must have surgery to repair it again.
The applicable wording in the CBA, Article 20, Section 3 provision states: "A player who is placed on a Nonfootball injury or Illness list ("N-F/I") is not entitled to any compensation under his contract while on such list ..."
Both players have claimed they were injured during off-site training sessions but league and union sources agree that any injury sustained that does not occur at the team's facility or under its direction is considered a "Nonfootball injury."
The Eagles and Ravens may act in accordance with their own wishes and pay the players all or a portion of their salaries. League sources say both Peters and Suggs are facing a financial reduction in 2012.
Peters will be subject to a loss of at least $3.25 million of his scheduled base salary of $7.9 million because that is the amount the Eagles will pay his replacement, former Bills tackle Demetress Bell, to take his spot this season. League sources say the team already has amicably discussed the financial reduction with Peters and his representative, Eugene Parker.
My guess is that the most likely resolution is that Peters and the Eagles come to some kind of resolution about what constitutes a fair amount. It does not appear that Peters would have any real recourse, given the wording of that portion of the CBA and the fact that the union agrees with the league on this aspect of the definition of "nonfootball injury," if the Eagles decided to throw the book at him. So the best resolution here is to come to an arrangement in which the loss from his end is as palatable as possible. Perhaps the Eagles, who have plenty of cap room, will take it easy on him.
The lesson, I guess, is to do your offseason workouts at the team facility, right? The new CBA doesn't require players to do as much work in the offseason as they used to do, or spend as much time at team facilities. But being off-site does, apparently, come with some risk, and cases such as these, in which the player is injured doing his own workout at his own location on his own time, could lead other players in the future to confine the most intense of their offseason workouts to their teams' weight rooms and practice fields.
One thing that is clear as a bell here is this: There aren't too many players in the NFL who have had a lousier offseason than Peters has.