Reports: NFL Warns Tom Coughlin About Comments on Voluntary Workouts


Tom Coughlin reportedly has received a reminder from the NFL about the definition of “voluntary.”

Last week, Coughlin, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations, called out (without saying the names of) defensive stars Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith for no-showing offseason voluntary workouts.

“We’re very close to 100 percent attendance — and quite frankly, all our players should be here,” Coughlin said Thursday, according to the Jaguars’ website.

“Building the concept of team, working hard side-by-side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals … success in the NFL demands struggle,” the two-time Super Bowl winning head coach said. “Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team.

“It’s not about rights and privileges. It’s about obligations and responsibility. And the question is, ‘Can we count on you?’ Doing things the right way all the time, we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

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Coughlin’s remarks were criticized by Eric Winston, the president of the NFL Players Association.

The NFL followed up by sending him a sternly worded letter, according to ESPN and reports Wednesday.

Do you agree with Tom Coughlin that all players should attend voluntary workouts?

Coughlin wasn’t fined or disciplined, the reports said, but the NFL made it clear that he can’t comment on players skipping the voluntary workouts.

According to ESPN, Coughlin and/or the Jags could be disciplined in the form of fines or loss of OTAs if they make similar comments down the line.

Even though Ramsey and Smith weren’t mentioned by name, they were the only two Jaguars not present at the voluntary workouts so it was clear that Coughlin’s comments were directed at them.

Ramsey recently had the fifth year of his rookie contract exercised so he is under contract until 2020, and he let everyone know on Twitter that he’ll be ready when he needs to be.

“I don’t HAVE to be there BUT they know the EXACT REASONS I am not,” he said, without explaining what those reasons are.

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Ramsey’s agent said in a statement that the cornerback prefers to work out in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, so he can be with his family. He skipped the voluntary workouts last year as well.

ESPN reported it was more of a surprise that Smith didn’t show up because the linebacker had appeared every year since being drafted in 2014.

The Jags began their voluntary offseason program on April 15 and will hold OTAs on several dates in late May and early June.

Their mandatory three-day minicamp will be June 11-13, and training camp is expected to begin in late July.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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