The Chicago Bears issued a press release on Friday, notating some key dates for 2013, including the team’s Veteran Minicamp(s), Rookie Minicamp and OTA practices. The dates are as follows:
- March 12 (3 P.M. CST): League year and Free Agency begin
- April 2: Chicago Bears offseason workouts begin (non-field activities)
- April 16-18: Veteran Voluntary Minicamp*
- April 25-27: NFL Draft
- May 10-12: Mandatory Rookie Minicamp
- May 13: OTA practices begin
- May 18: Bears Care Gala
- June 6: OTA practices end
- June 11-13: Mandatory Veteran Minicamp
*The Voluntary Veteran Minicamp is allowed by the NFL as an additional option for teams that hired a new head coach at the end of the previous season. Since the Bears are among those, they are exercising that right. Per the CBA, the additional camp must take place prior to the Draft.
Minicamps, even mandatory ones, apply to players under contract only. So, having said that, any veteran not under contract come mid-June does not have to attend. For example, I don’t expect we’ll see DT Henry Melton there unless he’s either signed his franchise tender or a long-term contract by those dates.
Part of the reason for the July 15 deadline on the tag is to prevent players from holding ou t of training camp, which usually begin toward the end of July. A player certainly still can hold out if tagged, but they would officially be in violation of league rule and be fined accordingly.
Update: According to Melton's agent, Jordan Woy, Melton has accepted and will sign his franchise tender.
The league-mandated three-phase offseason takes players first through strength and conditioning drills, including rehab, then individual position drills and finally OTAs or organized team activities. Live drills are prohibited until Training Camp.
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Filed under: Mini-Camp