SBD/December 26, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Belichick Claims Offseason Practice Limitations Have Led To Increase In Player Injuries

Belichick said there is a gap between preparation and competition level
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is "blaming recently instituted NFL rules shortening offseason practice time for what he claims to be an increasing number of player injuries," according to John Wawrow of the AP. Belichick said that players "are more vulnerable to being hurt because they're less prepared, and described the limits placed on offseason workouts -- including training camp -- as being counterproductive." He said, "I think that's taking the wrong approach. You have a gap between preparation and competition level. And I think that's where you see a lot of injuries occurring. We get a lot of breakdowns. We get a lot of situations that players just aren't as prepared as they were in previous years, in my experience anyway.'' Wawrow noted new rules negotiated into the CBA signed in '11 prevent teams "from holding two-a-day practices during training camp." Limits also were "placed on how many times players practiced in pads throughout the year." In the spring, offseason team activity time "was reduced from 14 to nine weeks (10 if the team changed head coaches)." Belichick did not cite specific numbers,  but he indicated that he was citing ''a matter of record not opinion,'' in saying injuries league-wide have been on the rise over the past three years. NFL VP/Football Communications Michael Signora "disputed Belichick's assertions." Signora: ''We carefully monitor player injuries. There is no evidence that the new work rules have had an adverse effect on the injury rate or that injuries have in fact increased" (AP, 12/25).
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