The New England Patriots did not practice over the weekend (instead they visited Robert Kraft to get their Super Bowl rings). Today, they are back at Gillette Stadium to start their three-day minicamp and thus the third offseason workout phase.
While the last three weeks' organized team activities were voluntary, minicamp is the only part of the offseason workout program that is mandatory. All players currently on the team's roster have to attend either as participants on the practice fields or as part of rehabilitation.
This is just one of many rules in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement covering minicamp. Via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, here are some others:
Since minicamp is mandatory, players can be fined by their teams for not showing up (first absence: $12,155; second absence: $24,300; third absence: $36,465) or showing up late (up to $1,770).
The following are not allowed: live tackling, one-on-one drills, and pads.
Minicamps can be shorter but not longer than three days. While Monday is used for physical examination, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are spent on the practice fields.
Players can spend a total of 3.5 hours on the practice field each day. One continuous session cannot be longer than 2.5 hours, though.
All on-field activities have to be filmed and, in case a complaint is filed against a club, may have to be submitted to the NFL Players Association.
Let's hope the Patriots will have a productive and injury-free three days. Make sure to regularly check Pats Pulpit for news and updates.