Cowboys dial back OTAs to avoid another penalty

  • Covered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003
  • Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins
  • Lives in Dallas area with his wife and two children

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is making sure he will not be fined for a third straight year for too much contact during organized team activities.

“Our team periods are basically walkthroughs and jogthroughs,” McCarthy said before the Cowboys’ second OTA of the offseason program. “So we won’t have a competitive 11-on-11 drill here probably ever again in the offseason.”

McCarthy was fined in 2021 and 2022 for what the league deemed as too much contact in the offseason practices that are conducted without pads and theoretically not supposed to have any contact. A brief tussle between two players last year led to the investigation that prompted the second fine.

A third violation of the rules could lead to a team potentially losing a draft pick.

In the recent rookie minicamp, the on-field work was limited. When players were on the field, they did not have any one on one or team drills and most of the practice was conducted with the players wearing helmets.

In Thursday’s OTA, there was a two-minute drill that was done without offensive or defensive linemen.

“Team drills really are not practical under the guidelines, in my opinion,” McCarthy said.

Asked if the change in format was related to the fines, McCarthy smiled, which drew a laugh from the media.

“I mean I’m glad you find humor in it,” McCarthy cracked. “My wife and I don’t think it’s really funny. It’s actually a sore spot with me. I’m on camera [or] I’d tell you exactly how I really feel. Gotta follow the rules.”

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