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NFL warning coaches not to talk to players during lockout

Bears Vikings Football

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a news conference before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, in Minneapolis. The game is being played at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium because of damage to the Metrodome roof. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)


Although the NFL is downplaying the significance of today’s big meeting with all 32 head coaches and general managers, the league office does have an important message for the bigwigs who run every team: Once the lockout starts, cut off all contact with players.

Last month Charley Casserly of CBS, who was a Redskins executive during the 1982 and 1987 players’ strikes, pointed out that there was sure to be some contact between coaches and players during the looming 2011 lockout. Casserly also noted that such contact would be cheating, and the league would discipline the involved coaches.

Today Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that coaches and executives will be reminded at today’s meeting that they’re not allowed to have any contact with players once the lockout starts. And Mortensen said coaches will be threatened with fines, forfeiture of draft picks and other discipline for breaking that strict rule.

We find it hard to believe that every coach will obey that strict directive. Surely, some individual coaches who have close relationships with some individual players will stay in contact during the lockout, and hope the league office doesn’t find out.