Dallas Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy Fined $100,000 for Violating Offseason Practice Rules

by Dustin Schutte

Apparently Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t learn his lesson from last season. Or maybe he just doesn’t care and is fine with suffering the consequences of violating the NFL‘s offseason practice policies.

McCarthy was hit with a $100,000 fine and the league is subtracting an organized team activity from the Cowboys in 2023 for “holding practices deemed too physical,” according to ESPN. The organization did not receive a financial punishment.

Owner and general manger Jerry Jones confirmed the league’s punishment.

This is the second-straight year McCarthy and the Cowboys have been slapped with a league punishment for the same offense. Last year, the head coach got hit with a $50,000 fine and the team had to cough up $100,000. Dallas was one of three organizations to violate the NFL’s offseason practice rules in 2021. The San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars were also penalized last year.

Because of last year’s penalty, Dallas could hold just nine OTA sessions during the 2022 offseason while the rest of the league (except San Francisco and Jacksonville) was permitted to host 10. Still, the Cowboys decided to practice only eight times during the offseason.

McCarthy cut the team’s number of OTA practices down from three to just one this week. Dallas held a team-building event at Topgolf on Wednesday. While veterans were dismissed, rookies had their final weight-lifting session and met with coaches.

“The biggest thing is you have a starting line and finish line,” McCarthy said, per ESPN. “I just felt like we crossed the finish line, particularly with the veterans.” 

According to the NFL Players Association website, live contact drills are prohibited during OTAs. With the league expanding the regular season to 17 games, there’s an even greater effort to protect the health and safety of the players.

Speaking of the NFL and Physicality …

The OTA violations and punishments for Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys comes just a few days after San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle talked about the physical toll the NFL takes on players’ bodies.

In an episode of LOL Network’s Cold as Balls with Kevin Hart, Kittle discussed the difficulty of the grind during a 17-game NFL schedule. He’s advocating for the league to add another bye week for each team.

“There’s a huge physical toll,” Kittle said on the show. “And like, 17 games is a lot. It’s a lot of games, with one bye, whether it’s Week 4 or the bye is Week 11. I’m advocating for two byes.”

Specifics regarding the Cowboys’ “physical” practices were not provided. Live drills such as blocking, tackling, pass-rushing and “bump-and-run” have been outlawed during OTAs. It’s just one aspect of how the league is trying to improve the health and safety of the sport.

After all, a number of players across the league are putting a ridiculous amount of money into their bodies to stay in peak shape.

When asked for a ballpark figure on how much he spends on his body on an annual basis, Kittle responded with “a couple hundred thousand (dollars).” So, you can imagine why the NFLPA might want a less strenuous run during OTAs.

We’ll see if McCarthy and the Cowboys get the message by next offseason. Then again, maybe they’re shooting for the Triple Crown of NFL OTA violations.