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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Who Gets 6 Months Off?


Preseason camp starts in the middle of the hottest time of the year. The dreadful summer heat can even wreak havoc on a group of professional athletes. It's grinding. It's tiresome. But it's a means to an end. Working hard in the preseason is what prepares teams for the grueling schedule ahead, including more than a month of preseason games, 17 weeks of regular season training for what hopefully becomes another month of playoff contests leading up to the ultimate goal of winning a Championship.

It's a hard job, but somebody's gotta get paid millions of dollars to do it.

That's the thing. I understand it's tough. I understand the shelf life of an NFL player is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 years. The rigors of the NFL season take their toll on a player's body.

But it's their job. What other job in the world can you get paid millions (yes, echoing the millions of dollars they get for playing a game) to work AND get close to six months off a year? Six months off. All of February. All of March. All of April. All of May. All of June. Last year, the Redskins were the first team to report and that was on July 19th.

OTAs should be mandatory. Gone are the days when players didn't make enough money to support their families in the off season and had to pick up second jobs. Gone are the days when players aren't working out year-round to keep themselves in shape. So why not make them work out WITH THE TEAM? Do the PR people and the equipment people take six months off? Does the GM take six months off? (okay, that's debatable for many teams.)

I'm not suggesting the players report every weekday for work like the rest of the organization has to. I'm not even suggesting that every single week is a mandatory workout. Players are entitled to their time off. But six months between the end of one season and the start of the next seems like a lot of time. And that's just for the good teams. Teams that don't make the playoffs get an extra five weeks off. That's like an out of school suspension when you were a kid -- what lesson did that teach?

My suggestion would be to shut everything down from the time the season starts until the draft. That would give even the Super Bowl teams nearly two months away from the team to do whatever they choose. Then in May, two weeks on, two weeks off. June, three on, one off. And starting in July, every weekday is a workday.

And I'm not suggesting hard labor every day. Spend time in the classrooms studying film and working on new schemes. Do team building exercises. Heck, if we have to be stuck in an office on a beautiful summer day, why shouldn't they?

By Dan Levy  |  March 18, 2009; 12:02 PM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Dan Levy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

You also have to wonder if bringing in the players for OTAs more often throughout the offseason would lead to a better quality of play in the NFL during the season.

The more time these players work together and with their coaches, the better chance they have to be more cohesive when actual games are played.

Posted by: Casselberry | March 18, 2009 4:14 PM

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