The New England Patriots made a last minute change of plans on Wednesday as the team cancelled Thursday’s OTA practice. While Bill Belichick has often cancelled practices in years past, he reportedly had no other choice this go around.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots are losing two days of organized team activities due to a violation of offseason rules. New England’s violation is not known at this time.
The Patriots were originally scheduled to hold the standard 13 practices this spring – 10 days of OTAs and three days of mandatory minicamp. The violation will now limit them to just eight days of optional OTAs prior to minicamp (June 12-14).
OTAs are part of Phase Three of the NFL’s offseason workout program. It’s the first time in the offseason where teams can practice 11-on-11, 9-on-7 and 7-on-7. However, no contact is allowed during these drills while players are also not allowed to wear pads.
Contact is usually the cause of these violations, as several NFL teams have been docked spring practices in recent years - most recently the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys last offseason. All offseason practices are recorded and the NFLPA has access to review any practice film after a complaint “alleging a violation” is filed.
After holding practice Monday and Tuesday, New England was set to open Thursday’s practice to reporters for the first time this offseason. They are now tentatively set to hold their first open practice next Wednesday, May 31.
The Patriots were also expected to hold practices Tuesday and Thursday next week, but NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry noted that the additional practice lost will be on Tuesday, May 30.