A little-known rule in the NFL's regulations is apparently going to prevent three rookie Green Bay Packers from participating in the team's Organized Team Activities this spring. As ESPN's NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert pointed out, rookie draft choices and free agent signees are not allowed to take part in OTAs until after their final exams are finished, and this appears to affect one Packer in particular.
That rookie is running back Johnathan Franklin, whose finals at UCLA last until June 14th. According to the rules (broken down here by ESPN's Mike Sando), Franklin can participate in the rookie minicamp and the Packers' mandatory three-day minicamp from June 4-6, but he may not join the team for any other activities (namely, OTAs) until his final exams are complete.
Seifert notes that the Packers' first-round pick, defensive end Datone Jones, has already graduated from UCLA and is not subject to these limitations. As for the team's other draftees, I looked into their schools' posted exam dates to verify that there will not be any other potential conflicts:
|Round||Player||Position||School||Last Exam Date||Conflict?|
|1||Datone Jones||DE||UCLA||N/A (graduated)||No|
|2||Eddie Lacy||RB||Alabama||May 3||No|
|4||David Bakhtiari||OL||Colorado||May 9||No|
|4||J.C. Tretter||OL||Cornell||May 17||No|
|4||Johnathan Franklin||RB||UCLA||June 14||YES|
|5||Micah Hyde||CB||Iowa||May 17||No|
|5||Josh Boyd||DT||Mississippi St.||May 3||No|
|6||Nate Palmer||OLB||llinois State||May 10||No|
|7||Charles Johnson||WR||Grand Valley St.||June 19*||Maybe*|
|7||Kevin Dorsey||WR||Maryland||May 17||No|
|7||Sam Barrington||ILB||South Florida||May 3||No|
As you can see, there is one other player who may be subject to these restrictions: wideout Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State. However, this is the exam deadline for the so-called "Spring/Summer" class session, which is separate from the Winter session. It is highly likely that Johnson is not enrolled in classes during this time, and would therefore not be subject to these restrictions. In fact, he tweeted that he reports to Green Bay on the 9th (presumably of May), which would mean that he is not currently enrolled.
As such, it appears that all but one of the Packers' drafted rookies will be able to participate fully in the off-season program.
UPDATE: JUST KIDDING, EVERYBODY. Apparently Franklin graduated in 2012, like Jones, and will be eligible for the full slate of off-season workouts. Please return to your previously scheduled excitement.
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