NFL players won concessions regarding their offseason workloads when negotiating the current labor agreement.
At least one NFL coach seems to sympathize with the cause. Jeff Fisher sees no reason his St. Louis Rams players should participate in a mandatory three-day minicamp typically scheduled for June. After all, most of them are participating fully in the team's extensive voluntary offseason programs, which include organized team activities.
"After going through the experience last year, I just felt like we could just get by with the OTAs," Fisher explained to reporters Saturday. "We’re permitted to have 10 OTAs and we’re also permitted to have a three-day mandatory minicamp. I thought it was important because of the commitment that they made to have a week off, come in and work for four or five weeks and then take a break for the vets. That way, we could focus on the rooks."
The Rams had the NFL's youngest roster last season. There's a very good chance that status will hold when teams cut back to 53 players for 2013.
"I feel like we can get done what we need to get done in the offseason program using phase two, skill development days -- that’s what we’re doing now -- and the 10 OTAs," Fisher said. "I feel like we can get everything installed. This is the second year in the system now, so we can get it installed. They deserve the break in mid-June. When they come back in July, we’ll continue to reinstall.”
Fisher has long been known for taking care of veteran players by managing the demands placed on their bodies. I think that could have made St. Louis a more appealing destination for a player such as tackle Jake Long, who signed with the team in free agency after a couple of injury-affected seasons in Miami.
"I guess I’m kind of old-fashioned," Fisher said in explaining why he would hold no mandatory camp. "That’s a long day and it’s a three-hour practice and all that stuff. In the offseason, I don’t think those things are necessary and particularly it relates directly to the commitment that they’ve made to the offseason program. They’re here every day. They’re coming early and staying late. They’re having fun and they’re determined."