The Ravens' decision to practice with full pads during rookie minicamp is going to cost them some time on the football field and some cash from their wallet. On Thursday, the NFL handed down its punishment for the Ravens, who violated league rules earlier this month when they briefly conducted a non-contact punt protection drill with pads.
The team will no longer be holding OTA sessions from June 1-3. John Harbaugh and the organization will also be fined.
Ravens lose three OTA sessions and fines levied at the team and head coach John Harbaugh for violating offseason practice policies— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 26, 2016
As ESPN initially reported, the Ravens claimed they didn't know that the rules that apply to OTAs also apply to rookie minicamp. Under the current rules, practicing with pads is banned until training camp. The team said that once players' union rep Benjamin Watson clarified the situation, the padded drill was stopped.
But as ESPN's Adam Schefter later reported, the NFL believed that the Ravens knew about the rules and intentionally violated them. Why the Ravens felt it was necessary to use full pads during a punt protection drill at rookie minicamp in May is still puzzling.
Once the punishment was handed out, the Ravens apologized for the infraction. They sound super sorry:
Ravens statement: "We made a mistake and we are sorry for that. We accept the NFL discipline."— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 26, 2016
Then, during an interview with reporters, Harbaugh accepted the blame.
Coach Harbaugh speaks to the penalty handed down by the NFL. https://t.co/3MxbAGnCG0— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 26, 2016
He really should've just blamed it on the family name, though. His brother, Jim, has a certain history with pushing practice rules at Michigan (no word yet if the Ravens will try to host their next round of OTAs at IMG Academy). By now, pushing the practice rules has become synonymous with the Harbaughs.
This isn't the first time Harbaugh's Ravens had to forfeit OTA sessions. Back in 2010, the Ravens were forced to cancel a week of OTAs due to "the intensity and tempo of drills" and "the length of time spent by players at the club's facility on such days," an NFL and NFLPA joint-statement announced at the time.
As Tom Brady once said, it might be time for Harbaugh and the Ravens to "study the rule book." The good news is that they now have some extra time to do exactly that over the course of a certain three-day period in June.