Washington Commanders Coach Ron Rivera Violates NFL’s Offseason Practice Rules, Gets Hit With $100,000 Fine

by Dustin Schutte

Ron Rivera is going to notice a sizable chunk of change is missing from his next bank statement. The Washington Commanders head coach received a $100,000 fine from the NFL after violating the league’s organized team activity (OTA) rules.

ESPN reports the NFL Players Association requested and reviewed practice tapes from early June. It determined the team violated OTA policies by holding practices that included excess physical contact. The NFL sent a letter to Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew regarding the punishments.

Washington has also been docked two OTAs from the 2023 offseason calendar.

“(The) intensity and tempo of the Club’s interior line play and pass coverage during 11-on-11 drills were at a level where players were clearly engaged in physical contests,” the letter read, per ESPN. “In some cases, players were slow to recover after those collisions.”

As part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, live contact drills are prohibited during OTAs. Per the NFLPA website, that includes “live blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run, etc.”

The letter from the league also stated that Rivera needed to intervene when drills became too physical.

A collision between receiver Dyami Brown and safety Jeremy Reaves during a June 8 practice was one incident that stood out. It left Brown with a sore shoulder, but he was able to participate in mini-camp the following week.

“We’ve just got to be careful and work with each other,” Rivera said of the collision. “The last thing we want is somebody to be hurt.”

Each team in the NFL gets 10 OTA practices during the offseason. In 2023, the Commanders only get eight because of this year’s violations.

NFL Also Hits Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy With Fine

Ron Rivera isn’t the only NFL head coach to receive a fine this offseason. The league recently slapped Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy with a penalty for violating the league’s OTA policies. McCarthy also faces a $100,000 fine for “holding practices deemed too physical.”

Owner Jerry Jones confirmed the news regarding the punishment. It marks the second-straight year McCarthy violated the league’s OTA rules.

Like Washington, Dallas will also lose an OTA day during the 2023 offseason. The Cowboys organization to not receive a financial punishment this year.

Dallas was one of three teams in the NFL to violate the OTA policies during the 2021 offseason. The league hit the Cowboys with a $100,000 fine and McCarthy with a $50,000 penalty. Also, the NFL found the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars guilty of overstepping the NFLPA’s offseason practice rules.

This offseason, the NFL permitted Dallas only nine OTAs. McCarthy only utilized eight.

“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.”