Players are back at work around the National Football League as organized team activities (OTAs) have begun. With the exception of the St. Louis Rams, whose first day of OTAs is on Tuesday, the league’s other 31 teams have each had at least one practice thus far.
The practices are voluntary, which has led to some notable absences around the league such as Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, but most players—even established veterans—participate fully in offseason workouts unless they are injured.
For most players, attending OTAs represents an opportunity to gain ground on the depth chart, while not attending OTAs has potential consequences, such as losing a spot in the lineup or on the roster.
A player’s performance in OTAs might ultimately be considered meaningless, especially if that player has already proved his worth in regular-season games. For a player who is a fighting for his place on the team, however, every practice can have bearing.
There have already been a few unfortunate instances of OTA injuries claiming players’ seasons before they ever truly began, but many other players are already benefiting from getting on the field with their teammates.