Bears & HC Matt Eberflus Get Praise for Breaking NFL Rules, May Face Huge Fines

Matt Eberflus

Getty New Bears coach Matt Eberflus could be facing a hefty fine after a violation of the league's CBA.

The Chicago Bears were forced to skip a day of organized team activities on Tuesday, June 7 after they violated rules put in place in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as first reported by Dan Wiederer of The Chicago Tribune.

First-year head coach Matt Eberflus conducted some May practices that featured live contact, which is a definite no-no according to CBA rules.

“The Bears were warned for having practices featuring too much contact last month with requests made that they alter their practice activity to adjust,” Wiederer reported. “Eventually, when proper adjustments weren’t made, the NFL Players Association was asked to get involved and the NFL stepped in, deciding that the team was in violation of league rules. As a result, the Bears were required to forfeit one of their OTA practices.”

“The Bears and first-year coach Matt Eberflus could also face fines,” Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic added, noting the NFL also “fined the Jaguars $200,000 and then-coach Urban Meyer $100,000 under similar circumstances last offseason.”

The Baltimore Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh have also been penalized for the same rule violation, as have other teams — which some cited as reason to praise Eberflus and the Bears.

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Insider: Bears, Eberflus ‘Didn’t Make a Mistake Here’

The reaction to Eberflus pushing the limits and having contact practices was generally positive, with many fans and analysts noting that while it’s never great to violate league rules, the Bears’ coach had a legitimate reason: to see what kind of talent he has on the current roster.

Some praised Eberflus for taking a much more aggressive approach than his predecessor, Matt Nagy:

Team insider Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog suggested Eberflus and company were intentional in their disobedience. “Bears didn’t make a mistake here. They knew what they were doing,” Hughes tweeted in response to analyst Marc Silverman, who compared what Eberflus did to Harbaugh and the Ravens.

While there were also several fans and analysts who criticized Eberflus for the error, most agreed it was only a minor mistake, with many giving Eberflus credit for bringing a new energy and mindset to the team.

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Was Bears Rule-Breaking a Good Omen?

While breaking league rules is never a great look, it seems clear why Eberflus did it — gauging talent on a 90-man roster when you’re new  It’s also a very small issue in the grand scheme of things. Eberflus and the team may wind up paying a nice chunk of change in fines, but other than losing a day of practice, that should be it.

It’s also something very good teams seem to do frequently. According to Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times, “four of the last five NFL teams to be penalized for OTA infractions have made the playoffs.”

While that’s not likely going to be the case for the Bears, who many analysts are predicting will finish with a sub-.500 record, it’s still not a half-bad sign, as it suggests OTA infractions aren’t uncommon, particularly amongst strong teams/coaches.

USA Today’s Alyssa Barbieri and Sports Illustrated’s Gene Chamberlain both have the Bears finishing with a 7-10 mark in 2022, with oddsmakers generally agreeing the team will finish somewhere in that ballpark.

The Bears will resume OTAs on Wednesday, June 8 after sitting Tuesday’s session out.

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