Orchard Park (WGR 550) - 86 days since their season ended in heartbreak against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills will get back together as a team for the first time on Tuesday when they report to Orchard Park for the first day of their voluntary offseason workout program, part of what is called Phase 1.
Phase 1 consists of the first two weeks of the nine-week offseason program. During this phase, as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players' Association, only strength and conditioning coaches who have no other coaching responsibilities are allowed on the field with players, who can only be there to participate in basic strength and conditioning or rehabilitation exercises.
In addition, players can only be on the field for a maximum of 90 minutes per-day, at the team's facility no more than four hours per-day, no more than four days per-week, and not during weekends. Teams can only specify a two-hour window for players to be at the facility. Players can choose the other two hours for lifting weights, running, etc.
Footballs are not permitted, except in the following circumstances, which are referred to as for “dead ball” activities by the collective bargaining agreement:
- Quarterbacks can throw to receivers, with no coverage from any defenders.
- Kickers, punters, PAT/field goal holders, and long snappers may use footballs on the field for kicking, punting, snapping or holding without the involvement of any other players.
- Returners may field punts and kickoffs provided they are not covered by any other player.
- JUGGS machines may be used for pass catching, punt returns, and kickoff returns.
Players cannot wear helmets during Phase 1, except the players using JUGGS machines for safety purposes if the player so desires.
The Bills have plenty of new faces on their roster, including big-ticket free agent defensive end Von Miller, defensive tackles DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, and quarterback Case Keenum.
Another quarterback, Matt Barkley, returns to the club after a couple years, as does defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.
Players aren't required to be in attendance. All workouts are voluntary.
Of course, coaches hope every player shows up, and even expects them to in most cases. However, players are under no obligation to be at One Bills Drive yet. If they aren’t present, they can’t be fined or suspended by the team or the league.
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