Posted on June 7, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Organized team activities, known more as OTAs, typically do not get a lot of press unless a superstar working his way back from injury is participating. You also tend to hear about them more when a superstar—like Odell Beckham Jr.—is not participating.
Why wouldn’t a player go to practice if he is healthy enough to do so?
Every player that skips has his own reason(s) that he doesn’t have to share with anyone. But a common thread among them is that OTAs are not important. Many stay away because the workouts are voluntary and they’d rather do their own thing. Some are angling for new contracts, and some just don’t want to be disturbed during their free time.
But to others, OTAs are just like any other practice—they’re important. As a member of the team, they feel the need to do what they can to make sure they are present whenever the team takes the practice field.
Two players recently showed just how important they view OTAs to be with the steps they took to make sure they were on time for their respective workouts.
Davon House is a defensive back for the Green Bay Packers. Monday night he found himself stranded in Minneapolis after missing a connecting flight faced with the possibility of being late to or missing Tuesday’s practice in Green Bay.
So, he did what anyone would do. He got on Twitter in hopes of finding a ride:
Any Packer fans in Minnesota want to take a trip to Green Bay maybe I can hitch hike a ride
As luck would have it, a couple of fans—brothers Chad and Mike Johnson—offered to help and picked him up. They even brought him a pillow so he could get some sleep before practice.
Aaron Rodgers speculated that House might have been motivated to make practice so he could cash in on his workout bonus ($150,000). But head coach Mike McCarthy was a little less skeptical and saw it as a positive instead:
“It tells you about his commitment — both from our fans and Davon,” McCarthy said before Tuesday’s practice. “He knows the importance of it. [Practice] is so limited at this time of the year…. I think Davon obviously showed the importance of being here.”
As it turns out, House wasn’t the only NFL player willing to go to extremes in order not to miss a voluntary workout. Buffalo Bills cornerback Shareece Wright found himself in Chicago and in danger of missing Monday’s workout in Buffalo. He didn’t do like House and take to social media in hopes of finding help.
He contacted Uber. It cost him $632.08 (plus a $300 tip) and took about eight hours, but he made it.
Just like it is easy to look at Beckham skipping OTAs and consider him a diva, assumptions can be made about House and Wright as well. Both played for different teams last year and are working under one-year contracts this year. So they don’t know the system and don’t have any chemistry yet with their teams.
House is set to make $2.8 million this season but is only guaranteed $850,00. Wright is set to make $775,000 with no guarantee. Unless they give their teams a reason to keep them, they could easily get cut. That makes attendance at ‘voluntary’ workouts a bit more important.
So—did they do it out of necessity or because they wanted to do what any good teammate would do? Only they know for sure—but it’s nice to think it was about the love of the game and team (and not money and job security).