First, the Seahawks got beaten by the Rams.
Then they got slammed for ramming each other.
For the second time in three years, the NFL on Monday ruled the Seahawks participated in “excessive contact” during an offseason practice. That violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
The league is making Seattle forfeit a fifth-round draft choice in 2017. It also fined the team $400,000, fined coach Pete Carroll $200,000 and took away the team’s first three organized-team-activity practices next spring.
“During the team’s June 6, 2016 Organized Team Activity (OTA) day, players engaged in excessive on-field physical contact, which is expressly prohibited in all offseason workouts under the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the league wrote, referring also to the NFL players’ union. “The prohibition is one of several measures the NFL and NFLPA implemented to enhance player safety by limiting contact during offseason workout programs. The rules also help to prevent any team from gaining a competitive advantage.”
June 6 was an OTA that was closed to the media.
This is the third time in Carroll’s six years as Seattle’s coach the league has slapped the team for too much hitting in the offseason.
The worst sanction this time? Seattle losing the draft pick.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider have drafted two stars of the team’s punishing defense, three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor, in the fifth rounds of previous drafts.
Carroll said he believes the sanctions were tougher because the Seahawks are repeat offenders of this offseason-contact rule.
“I think so, yeah. I think so,” the coach said. “I mean, it’s been over six years’ time that we’ve been doing it and working on this.
“I’ve just got to make sure I do a better job on this. We have to work harder to understand what everybody else is doing and just really staying within the lines that they think is right, and we have to find out. We had the league come in to talk to our players and all that stuff, in the offseason again this year, we just have to do a better job.”
Carroll said Monday two younger Seahawks players — believed to no longer be on the team — “banged heads” during the June 6 OTA practice without helmets.
The coach described the mechanics of how these penalties get reviewed and handed down.
“We know the league can look at any practice, any day, and they call for it whenever they choose to, randomly. So knowing that, we practice in compliance the whole time, thinking they can see whatever we are doing,” Carroll said. “They also have random visits, visitors come from the NFLPA and from the league, local guys come. So those guys have come out the last couple years and we’ve had no issues, at all. So it’s unfortunate.
“At times if a guy seems to be a little overzealous, we take him out of practice. We’ve had guys get suspended from practice, because of efforts that we thought were out of line and stuff like that. But still, we didn’t meet the standards that they want. So this is what happened.”
Asked if the June 6 practice was the result of an NFL observer being at the drills, Carroll said: “I don’t think so that day. I think they just heard about it, or something, and just picked up the film.”