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A re-explanation of training camp rules

The pads go on Monday. Let’s look at the rules related to that and training camp.

The San Francisco 49ers head into their third day of training camp Monday, and this is where the pads come on. Obviously, the quarterbacks will be in non-contact jerseys, but this is where some physicality starts to come into play. We already saw some of it with a pair of fights breaking out Sunday. Both of which involved Jalen Hurd in some way.

I figured it would be a good idea to go over what the rules are for training camp now that the pads are coming on. These are specified in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement that is set to expire in 2021.

Expenses, per diem, room and board

A player’s contract pays a base salary, but that base salary is generally only paid during the 17 weeks of the regular season. Players can request an alternate payment schedule, but for base salary, payment comes during the regular season.

During training camp, players receive compensation in a variety of ways. Section 2 of the Article provides that all players will receive room and board during the pre­-season training camp. Additionally, if a player has not established residency in the team’s city, the team has to provide housing between training camp and the Tuesday before the team’s first regular-season game.

Section 3 and 4 provide that all players will receive per diem payments starting the first day of training camp and ending one week before the team’s first regular-season game. There is one rate for rookies and “first-year” players, and another rate for veteran players. A “first-year” player is a player who has not completed a season in which a year of “credited service” has been earned. Players on the practice squad would be an example of that. Rookies and first-year players get a per diem at a weekly rate of $925, while veterans get a per diem at a weekly rate of $1,700.

Section 8 provides that the team will reimburse all players under contract for reasonable travel expenses incurred in reaching training camp from the players’ residences. The players need to submit vouchers. If the team releases a player, he will be reimbursed for their return trip to their residence, upon submission of vouchers

Veteran reporting date

Veterans cannot be required to report to the official preseason training camp earlier than 15 days before the team’s first scheduled preseason game, or July 15, whichever is later. This includes one day for physical examinations, meetings, classroom instruction, running, and conditioning.


Day 1: Limited to physical examinations, meetings, and classroom instruction; no on-field activities other than running and conditioning

Day 2-3: No contact permitted, no pads worn

Day 4 and on: Two-a-day practices permitted with following rules:

  • Players may be on the field for a total of no more than 4 hours per day;
  • Players may participate in no more than one padded practice per day, which shall be no longer than 3 hours of on-field activities;
  • There must be at least a 3 hour break after the practice, and the second practice on the same day may only be for a maximum of the remaining available on-field time, and shall be limited to only “walk-through” instruction (i.e., no helmets, full-speed pre-snap, and walking pace after the snap).
  • The three-hour limit on padded practices shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field.
  • If that a Club begins a padded practice but, such practice is cancelled within sixty minutes of its commencement due to inclement weather or for any other reason beyond the Club’s control, such practice shall not count as a padded practice
  • A “padded practice” shall be defined as a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the Club.
  • It is not a padded practice if, 1) QBs, kickers, punters, and/or long snappers only wear helmets and/or shoulder pads during practice at the option of the player(s); 2) a player who suffered a head injury is directed by a club physician to wear a helmet as a precautionary measure; 3) the quarterback and/or the defensive player who receives signals from the coaching staff via helmet communication wear helmets during the team period in which helmets are used for such communication.


Teams have to film all on-field activities and maintain a copy of any film until 30 days after the start of the regular season. The NFLPA can review the films only upon the filing of a complaint alleging a violation the Article 23.