Saunders, Clark & Lewis Kicked Out Of Steelers Facilty Saturday Because Of New CBA Rule

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders posted on Twitter today that he, Ryan Clark and Keenan Lewis were kicked out of the team facility today for trying to workout. The reason Saunders gave is that the new CBA, that was agreed to last offseason, states that players are not allowed to workout on the weekend, even if it is voluntary.

You can see that in APPENDIX G of the CBA, which I posted below, that it states the rules in regard to offseason workouts. It states that player workouts must be voluntary in nature and can not take place on weekends, except for certain specified minicamps. While the rookie minicamps are taking place this weekend for the Steelers, it is for those players only.

While you can certainly understand the beef of Saunders and Clark, the rules are unfortunately the rules. One would think that with the huge hurdles that the NFL is jumping over in regard to player safety that they would want players to be under supervision of their own teams\’ strength and workout coordinators, so as to make sure that the players are working out correctly, and that they do not hurt themselves. Voluntary is voluntary, correct? The fear I assume is that some teams might take advantage of this and “strongly urge” that players voluntarily come in on the weekends to workout.

So what happened to the group after being forced out of the facility today? Clark tweeted that he was off to a local fitness center to finish his workout.

Except for certain specified minicamps, any offseason workout programs or classroom instruction shall be strictly voluntary. No Club official shall indicate to a player that the Club’s offseason workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary (or that a player’s failure to participate in a workout program or classroom instruction will result in the player’s failure to make the Club or any other adverse consequences). Offseason programs may take place for nine weeks. Workouts shall be limited to four days per week; such workout programs are not permitted on weekends. The nine weeks may include no more than ten days of organized team practice activity. This does not preclude any player from working out on his own on other days, including weekends. Contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run), is expressly prohibited in all offseason workouts.
Voluntary offseason workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players. The intensity and tempo of drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority, and not at a level where one player is in a physical contest with another player.
Teams are to provide their players and the NFL the schedule for the program, including designation of any days on which organized team practice activity will take place, pursuant to the rules set forth in Article 21 and any changes to the schedule for the program.
The following rules shall also apply to the ten days of organized team practice activity:
• No pads except protective knee or elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.
• All organized team practice activity shall be conducted pursuant to the rules for Phase Three activities, which are set forth in Article 21, Section 2(b)(iii) of this Agreement.
• No live contact; no live contact drills between offensive and defensive linemen.
• 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills will be permitted, providing no live contact takes place.
• The NFL will monitor all Clubs during the offseason to ensure player safety and adherence to live contact guidelines.
• Maximum six hours per day, with a maximum two hours on field, for any player.

  • Tennbob

    Sure seems to be a lot about this new CBA that the players don’t understand. Someone did a poor job of explaining to these guys just what they were voting on. Too bad they’re stuck with it for the next ten years. I wonder what the players think of being represented by deMaurice Smith now. They should have chosen one of their own.

  • Intropy

    The only parts of the CBA quoted I don’t understand are “volun-tary” and “teach-ing.” Hyphenating those words seems biz-arre.

  • SteelersDepot

    crazy how it is indeed written like that.

  • You would think that the teams representative to the NFLPA, would have a better understanding of the rules under the new CBA.

  • Intropy

    Understanding the CBA is probably its own full time job. Ryan Clark has other commitments.

  • He didn’t have other commitments during the lock out. One of his responsibilities was to cast a vote to accept, or reject the new CBA. It’s kind of hard to vote on something, if you don’t know what’s in it.

  • As a player rep to the NFLPA, Clark was one of the players who had the opportunity to vote for the CBA. Looks like he didn’t spend much time reviewing what he was voting on.

  • SteelersBall

    I think the amended revisionOf the CBA will prohibit touch-ing during the regular season too.

  • Paul

    Probably why the Steelers didn’t sign the agreemment

  • Lance_bull

    If I remember correctly Ryan Clark recommendation to his teammates was to reject the new CBA. Why would you learn the finer points of the off season work outs when he rejected the major issues of the CBA.


    Are you any relation to tennBbob? See you on PG+!

  • Ryan Trower

    Seems to me that a person in a job should be allowed to work at that job 365 days a year if he so chooses. Unions had their place 100 years ago to regulate working conditions, wages, and equal rights. However, the unions killed the steel and auto industries, and they have outlived their usefulness. I have friends who are teachers and while the unions got them better pay, working conditions are worse then ever, and meaningful education reform will forever be blocked by union guidelines and incompetent administrators (bowing to the desires of the union).

    Maybe Ryan Clark & Steelers’ management understands this, which is why they voted against the CBA. For what these guys get paid, which indicates they are not in temporary or part-time positions, they should be able to talk to and work with coaches and trainers all year.

    Sorry for being somewhat political at a sports blog, but screw the unions!!

  • Seems the NFL players know as much about the new CBA as the American public know about Obamacare.

  • kevin

    I am guessing that less than 20 players read the whole CBA. Most of them probably relied upon the lawyers to explain the major provisions in it so most of it is legalese.

  • kevin

    I hope the amended revision of our O-line prohibits touching of the QB unlike years past.

  • kevin

    Clark could still be doing his job yet not know everything that is in the CBA. Do you know how many provisions are in there solely because it involves standard legalese for these types of deals. Clark probably had a briefing from the NFLPAs lawyer’s regarding the major provisions. I do not think it is a big deal.

  • Rob Mitchell

    It’s pretty likely that Dave copy and pasted the Appendix from another document (probably pdf) and those were the paragraph breaks.

  • Intropy

    Yes, I know those are line breaks in the original, but acknowledging that in the original post spoils the joke.

  • DavidS

    Ryan Clark should’ve read every detail of the CBA and still be able to regurgitate it verbatim to his teammates now a year later. Lord knows any guy off the street could do that. THIS is the key to the team winning the division this year. He should focus on this.