The New England Patriots were stripped two days of organized team activities on Wednesday, and it appears that Joe Judge is at the heart of the issue.
As first reported by Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, the assistant coach scheduled special teams meetings that violated the time players could spend at the team facility at that point in the offseason. Per the NFLPA complaint, which was filed May 4, Judge directed players to stay beyond the permitted four-hour window.
Article 21, Section 5(b) of the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, after all, states that players are allowed “at the Club facility no more than four hours per day, no more than four days per week, and not during weekends.”
The Patriots argued that the meetings were voluntary and that no attendance was taken, but the league ultimately used the CBA as the basis of its penalty. Besides losing two days of OTAs — May 25 and May 30 — head coach Bill Belichick has also been fined $50,000.
The violations occurred May 1, May 2, and May 4. The meetings in question reportedly ran 15 minutes past the four-hour window.
New England’s special teams coach from 2015 through 2019, Judge returned to the team last offseason following an unsuccessful stint as head coach of the New York Giants. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2022 and played a big role in leading the team’s offense in Year 1 after long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels, but did not find plenty of success.
With the Patriots rebuilding their offensive coaching staff by hiring Bill O’Brien as their new OC and QB coach, Judge was moved to a different area. He will be working with special teams again in 2023, supporting fellow assistant coaches Cam Achord and Joe Houston.
The Patriots already held OTAs on May 22 and May 23. Their next session is scheduled for May 31, and is also expected to include a press conference by Bill Belichick.