I have received a question wondering why the Steelers do not practice more in pads like they did last week in preparation for the Titans and the short answer is, they can\’t. It is all due to the new guidelines and rules in the new CBA. Teams are only allowed 14 padded practices during the regular season and 11 of those must take place during the first 11 weeks of the regular season. They are allowed to practice twice a week in pads only once and that too must take place during the first 11 weeks of the regular season. That is what the Steelers did last week and they will not be able to do that again this season.
A padded practice, as defined in the new CBA, is a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the team.
For a little more clarity on the padded practice rules, I am including Article 24 of the CBA below.
Section 1. Practice Rules:
(a) During the regular season, padded practices for all players shall be limited to a total of fourteen, eleven of which must be held during the first eleven weeks of the regular season, and three of which must be held during the remaining six weeks of the regular season. The Club may choose the days of the week on which such practices shall be held. Subject to the foregoing rules, each Club may hold two padded practices during the same week during one week of the regular season, provided that such week falls within the first eleven weeks of the regular season.
(b) Clubs participating in the postseason may hold one padded practice per week, on a day of the Club’s choosing, commencing with the week following the Club’s last regular season game.
(c) For purposes of this Article and Article 23, a “padded practice” shall be defined as a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the Club, subject to the exceptions set forth in Article 23, Section 6(b).
(d) On days when padded practices are permitted under Subsection (a) above, on-field Team activity for all players shall be limited to a maximum of three hours per day, including “first period” (i.e., stretching and calisthenics), provided that (i) players may participate in on-field activities with their position coaches for a period not to ex-ceed thirty minutes, prior to the three-hour maximum on-field period; and (ii) any walk-through of reasonable and customary duration (for purposes of this Subsection, such walk-through to be no helmets and walking pace) that is conducted prior to or after the three-hour maximum on-field period shall not count against that limit. The three-hour time limit described above shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field, subject to provisos (i)–(ii) in this Subsection.
Section 2. Bye Weeks:
During any regular season bye week period occurring during the term of this Agreement, players will be given a minimum of four consecutive days off. Such four-day period must include a Saturday and a Sunday unless the Club is scheduled to play a game on the Thursday following the bye week, in which case players may be required to report to the Club on the Sunday preceding the Thursday game. In such an event, the four-day period shall be Wednesday through Saturday. Any injured player may be required to undergo medical or rehabilitation treatment during such four-day period provided that such treatment is deemed reasonably necessary by the Club’s medical staff.
Section 3. Enforcement:
Any violation of Section 1 of this Article shall be governed by the same procedures, and shall be subject to the same fines and fine procedures, as set forth in Article 21, Section 8, except that the “Other Penalties” set forth in Article 21, Section 8(d)(ii) shall not apply to any violation of this Article.
Section 4. Films:
Clubs shall film all regular and postseason practices shall maintain a copy of such films until thirty days after the end of their season. The NFLPA may view such films (after signing a confidentiality agreement satisfactory to the NFL at the start of each League Year) only upon the filing of a complaint alleging a violation of this Article.