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New CBA forces Rivera to send players home

Ron Rivera, Thomas Davis, Jon Beason

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera walks across the practice fields as linebackers Thomas Davis (58) and Jon Beason (52) follow at the Carolina Panthers training center in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

AP

The offseason workout rules contained in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement have forced Panthers coach Ron Rivera to take unprecedented action.

He’s had to send players home from the facility.

“I went downstairs and said, ‘OK, everybody who’s been here since 7, you’ve got to go,’” Rivera tells Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “So those guys got up and left.”

The CBA limits every player to six hours per day at the facility during Phase Three (the OTA phase) of the offseason program. In Phase One and Phase Two, the limit was four hours. During the upcoming three-day minicamp, players may be in the building up to 10 hours per day.

Rivera also is making sure that players don’t go too hard during practice, blowing the whistle if he hears helmets popping together.

“I have a disclaimer,” Rivera said. “Keep your helmets and shoulders out of the drill.”

The only good news for Rivera and his peers is that having less time with players gives the coaching staff more time to prepare for the next day of practice. After all, the coaches have no limits on the number of hours they can be at work.