We now know when the Buffalo Bills will be back in town working out in shorts! The NFL has released the offseason workout dates for all the teams including OTAs and minicamp.
The first day of the offseason training program is April 19. That date begins what the NFL calls “Phase 1” and can only include meetings and strength and conditioning for two weeks. Basically, nothing football-specific can happen on the field. At the beginning of May, the team can transition to “Phase 2” for three weeks:
“On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as ‘perfect play drills,’ and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walk through pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.”
OTAs, or “Organized Team Activities” can begin after that. It actually looks like football, even though no live contact is allowed. Teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills. In Orchard Park, the Bills will hold their ten allowed practices on May 23-24, May 26, May 31, June 1-2, June 6-7, and June 9-10.
Up to this point, all of the practices and events are optional. While some players have it in their contract that they receive extra money for attending a certain number of these sessions, players can’t be fined for missing.
Teams are allowed one mandatory offseason minicamp and Buffalo’s will be held from June 14-16. Recently, teams have been cancelling the final day of minicamp to facilitate teambuilding activities.
They won’t be on the field again until late July when training camp kicks off at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford.