NFL Docks New England Patriots 2 OTAs for Rule Violations

The New England Patriots have drawn the ire of the league yet again. Per ESPN's Mike Reiss, the NFL penalized the Patriots for improper offseason scheduling practices, docking the six-time Super Bowl champs two organized team activities sessions.

The NFLPA filed a complaint when the Patriots tried to sneak in meetings/workshops off the official schedule that extended players' workdays beyond the maximum four hours. The Patriots argued that those activities were not mandatory and no attendance was taken, but the NFL didn't accept the excuse. Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $50 000 and the Patriots had their next two sessions of OTAs cancelled.

The league has cracked down hard on NFL teams in recent years for trying to hold onto their players beyond negotiated timelines during the offseason. The Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, and Houston Texans were all punished for similar infractions in 2022.

Of course, those teams don't have the bad reputation that the Patriots have as perennial line steppers. Fair or not, no team has been hammered for rule violations quite so persistently as Belichick's Pats. From Spygate to DeflateGate to the recent filming of the Cincinnati Bengals' sidelines, the Patriots have become the most scandal-prone franchise in the league. 

Unlike those high-profile missteps, this discipline shouldn't set the Patriots back too much. By the time the regular season rolls around, a couple of missed practices won't make a difference. As for the players who were initially victimized by the schedule, they'll now benefit from a little more vacation time. 

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