"It was wrong. I read it the wrong way. The bottom line: It's on me."
Those are the words of Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. A few weeks ago during the team's rookie minicamp session, the team had rookies suit up in pads for five minutes. The league found out and a punishment was pending for the Ravens. Although Harbaugh fessed up and said the mistake was on him, I'm still baffled how this happened. Even I know you're not allowed to use pads during these offseason programs, as stated in plain sight in the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
There will be no contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) or use of pads (helmets permitted) at minicamps.
If a first-year coach made this mistake, maybe I could understand. Harbaugh has been the Ravens' head coach since 2008, though, and the current CBA has been in effect since 2011. There are a ton of other coaches and staff members on the roster who should know the rules too. So, how did it slip by? It's obvious to me: Harbaugh didn't read anything wrong...he just assumed they'd get away with it. Wrong.
The league came down on the Ravens this week, handing out the following punishment:
- The Ravens will have to cancel one week of upcoming OTA sessions.
- The team was fined $480,280 ($343,057 for the organization and $137,223 for Harbaugh).
We'll see if Baltimore rebounds in 2016. The organization in general has taken a lot of bad publicity in recent years, including a 5-11 finish last year and a poor effort by Joe Flacco amidst a very non-cap-friendly contract.