In interviews held by Pat Shumur and Mike Holmgren many weeks ago, the Browns stated that they planned on meeting with Colt McCoy as well as several other veterans in order to discuss the new offensive and defensive playbooks. The meetings were also designed in order to discuss the West Coast Offense and the potential switch to a 4-3 defense.
In an article posted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Saturday (found here), Toni Grossi reported that the NFL warned the Browns not to meet with their players until the previously set date of offseason training meetings (March 15).
The warnings come down after numerous reports stated that the Browns had met with McCoy and planned on giving him a new offensive playbook to look over in case of a work stoppage.
It is unclear how much involvement or communication the Browns coaching staff and front office have had with the players since the team departed the day after an embarrassing 41-9 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It is also unclear why the process of giving McCoy (or anyone for that matter) a playbook to study would be against league policy.
Should the NFL Make an exception for teams that are under new coaching regimes?
McCoy stated in his interview on ClevelandBrowns.com that he planned on getting together with other members of the offense and working on routes as well as offensive planning. There are no league regulations against this practice as long as coaches are not in attendance.
McCoy and the rest of Cleveland's players seem to have a tough road ahead of them if they hope to stay on pace with other NFL teams.
Not many teams are going through complete coaching overhaul like the Browns are, and the team may have a tough time attracting key free agents after any type of work stoppage.
The Browns may have to make do with what they have on the current roster and what they may obtain throughout the draft.
The warnings from the league are just an unwelcome reminder of the current state of football and how truly difficult these new labor negotiations may be.
This article can also be found on The Dawg House: A Sports Blog For Every Cleveland Browns Fan