Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

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Work begins for Browns as team reports for offseason program

A look at what players can and can’t do as workouts begin

April 1, 2019
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Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – No April Fools joke here, football season begins Monday.

As the Cleveland Indians prepare for their home opener, most, if not all, of the Browns are expected to report to Berea for the start of the team’s offseason training program. Although the program is voluntary in accordance with league rules, many contracts have workout bonus schedules built into them to encourage attendance.

After a busy offseason for general manager John Dorsey that included the controversial signing of troubled running back Kareem Hunt and the blockbuster trade with the New York Giants that netted Pro Bowl defensive end Olivier Vernon and three-time Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr., expectations have been raised to the highest levels since the franchise returned 20 years ago.

The Browns are the trendy pick to win their first division title since 1989 and end the longest playoff drought in the league, but anyone in the front office, on the coaching staff or the roster will tell you nothing is won in March let alone April.

That said, the work that begins Monday will hopefully lay the foundation for what is expected to be the most compelling, enjoyable and successful season in decades under first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens.

Here are the rules and a breakdown of the three phases of the offseason training program leading up to the mandatory June minicamp as stipulated by the CBA courtesy of the NFL Players Association.

- Workouts cannot begin prior to the first Monday in April for clubs with a new head coach or the third Monday in April for all other clubs

- Workouts are strictly voluntary; Club officials cannot indicate workouts are anything other than voluntary

- A maximum of four workouts per week (no weekends), with one week being the mandatory minicamp

- Contact work is prohibited in all workouts such as "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run, etc.

- Intensity and tempo of drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority. 

PHASE ONE (April 1-5 and 8-12): 4 HOURS A DAY

  • Limited to strength and conditioning activities ("dead ball"); only strength and conditioning coaches allowed on field*

* Dead Ball Explanation: QBs can throw to receivers with no coverage; Kickers and Punters can kick, but players cannot field the ball and no snappers or holders can be involved; Long Snappers can snap into a net; Defensive players may not catch balls at all regardless of who is throwing them.

  • 90-minute max on the field
  • Clubs can only specify 2 hours for players to be at the facility
  • Players choose the other 2 hours for weights, etc. 

 PHASE TWO (April 15-19, 22-26 and 29-May 3): 4 HOURS A DAY

  •  The same rules as phase one apply except: All coaches are allowed on the field; Individual and “perfect play” drills are allowed; No offense vs. defense, no one - on – one and no helmets

PHASE THREE (May 6-10, 13-17, 20-24 and 27-31): 6 HOURS A DAY​

  • 4 weeks total
  • 3 weeks for 10 total OTA’s
  • A maximum of 3 OTA’s each week for the first 2 weeks
  • During Weeks 1 & 2 a 4th non-OTA workout is allowed but phase two rules apply
  • A maximum of 4 OTA’s for the 3rd or 4th week
  • One week for mini camp
  • No pads except protective knee and elbow pads, helmets are permitted
  • No live contact
  • 7 on 7, 9 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills will be permitted provided no live contact takes place

MINICAMP (June 4-6): 10 HOURS A DAY

  • Physicals on Monday but no practice 
  • Practices Tuesday-Thursday, with a day off on Friday
  • Allowed two practices totaling 3 ½ Hours on the field per day
  • Second practice limited to walk through activities only

The Browns will hold their rookie minicamp from May 3-5.