This time of year, every NFL city considers what is voluntary, and what is not. And what it should mean.
I was thinking about it today when I read the story about Albert Haynesworth staying away from Redskins’ work, and how his teammates reacted. I thought about it some more when I noticed Darnell Dockett — who famously had been scarce the last couple of offseasons during voluntary work — once again taking part with John Lott today. I think back to every player I’ve talked to over the years about the voluntary nature of the voluntary workouts. Technically true, but there are so many reasons why the pull is there for the players to show — at least some of the time. Said safety Kerry Rhodes back in March, “It’s voluntary, so to speak. But if you’re not here, people notice. Not even just coaches, players see when other guys aren’t here, and some guys take that a certain way.”
The players’ association always makes it clear it’s about being a volunteer and there can be no repercussions. But as the Cards come up on the beginning of organized team activities — all of which are voluntary — there is actual work being done. Things are installed. The Cards will go over it again in training camp, but like anything else, the more you do something, the better you are at it.
Now, obviously some guys will be absent for some of the OTAs (for instance, I know safety Adrian Wilson will miss a couple at the end of the sessions to return home to North Carolina). But I’d expect most to be there most of the time. In my opinion — and it’s mine, I’m certainly not speaking for the team or the coaches (not that I ever do) — it’s not that bad, not spending an hour or so on the field 14 times for some training camp prep work. Missing a couple doesn’t matter. I look at it the same way as an unsigned rookie at the beginning of camp — if a guy misses four or five days, in the grand scheme, it’s meaningless.
In the end, I’d probably show. I can think of harder ways to stay on top of your job. You get to hang with teammates, your coaches are probably happier, so it’s worth it.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Albert Haynesworth, Darnell Dockett, John Lott, Kerry Rhodes
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