Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy pushes back on NFL offseason schedule overhaul: ‘I hope it doesn’t happen’

FRISCO, Texas — The NFL Players Association proposed the league remake its entire offseason calendar on Monday with the big change being the elimination of voluntary spring workouts and organized team activities (OTAs).

Instead, the NFLPA would like to see “an extended, OTA-style ramp-up — strength and conditioning, non-padded work, etc. — straight into training camp without a six-week break/de-escalation in between” prior to training camp in the middle of June or at the beginning of July. That would erase their responsibility to show up at their teams’ facilities in May and early June. On the flip side, both the players and NFL coaches and staffers would then lose the six-week break they receive from June up until training camp in late July, a period many who work for NFL teams use to spend time with their family, especially their children, since school is out for summer. 

“Hypotheticals are what they are. That’s a hypothetical I hope it doesn’t happen,”  Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. “I think any coach would feel that way. At the end of the day, I don’t know the nuts and bolts of it. Just like everything with the league and the union, when they interact, there’s a lot of studies and education that goes into it. I’ll be curious in the why.”

McCarthy views that six-week break he and the players receive between June and July as a crucial rest and recovery period. Under the NFLPA’s proposal, there wouldn’t be the same gap between the lighter, noncontact team workouts and training camp, when the helmets and pads return along with full-contact practices. 

“When you look at all the variables of training your football team and getting ready for a season, there is undulation in your training. Rest and recovery is part of it. The reality of the current state that we’re in the CBA, you have to have the involvement and understanding that your players are gonna have external resources to train with,” McCarthy said. “We’ve talked on that time to time in here, and we’re so fortunate for the city that we live in and because our resources are abundant. Our resources are so abundant you have a lot of NFL players from other teams that come here to train. So, that’s already part of it. I spend my time talking particularly to the rookies and just using the term ‘car wash’ to make sure that they have things lined up because that’s just the state that we’re in.” 

He also doubted the execution of players exclusively training at their respective team facilities, pointing toward players always opting to find outside training to supplement what they do with their teams. Cowboys three-time All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons utilized boxing training, among other things, outside of the team’s headquarters to prepare for the 2024 season. Like the rest of the NFL world, McCarthy awaits the “nuts and bolts” of the NFLPA’s proposal. 

“So whether it’s five [or six] weeks, the timing of it to me it’s irrelevant because it’s never going to be set up,” McCarthy said. … “I know in my lifetime just the way it’s gone is that it’s [not] going to be a totally internal training method for the players to do it at the organization. So, there’s always gonna be externals and internals. So, that’s what I all focus on. So how they organize it and why they organize it, I’d be very curious to see their why.”

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