Bears reportedly punished for violating NFL contact rules in May OTAs
It's a new era for the Chicago Bears, but that new era couldn't begin without an appropriate tribute to the previous regime: unnecessarily screwing up and getting punished for it.
According to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears had to cancel Tuesday's OTAs entirely after violating the league rule which bars live contact practices in the early phase of offseason programs. The violations reportedly occurred in May, and were so persistent that the NFLPA and the NFL had to get involved.
According to the league source, the Bears were warned for having practices featuring too much contact last month with requests made that they alter their practice activity to adjust. Eventually, when proper adjustments weren’t made, the NFL Players Association was asked to get involved and the NFL stepped in, deciding that the team was in violation of league rules.
The reported punishment was the cancellation of one OTA practice, which is why Tuesday's practice was apparently wiped off the books. According to Wiederer, the Bears sent out an email to the media announcing the schedule change, but didn't offer an explanation for why the practice was cancelled.
This is definitely not the best way for new head coach Matt Eberflus to begin his tenure with Chicago. Dramatic and damaging self-owns are nothing new for the Bears franchise, but following the firings of former head coach Matt Nagy and former GM Ryan Pace in January, this was supposed to be a fresh new start. Instead, the Bears have started their new season with the football equivalent of "The Price is Right" fail horn.
It's hard to label any team "promising" if the head coach reportedly ignored NFL practice rules to the point that the NFL and NFLPA had to intervene. But now it's June, and since the reported violations occurred in May, the Bears can try to make a new start once again — just as soon as they're done being punished.