'Boys also reportedly contacted players during 'dead' period

The Cowboys are among the five teams that the NFL has fined for violating offseason rules prohibiting contact with players before team activities are allowed, *The Dallas Morning News* reported Wednesday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting that the Miami Dolphins were another of the teams, and The Morning News reported the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns also are believed to have violated the rule. All four of those teams have new head coaches or coordinators.

NFL Network's Albert Breer reported Friday that five teams were assessed fines on March 18 and have filed appeals.

According to the Morning News, several Cowboys players mentioned meeting with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to get a head start on learning his system.

Goodell responded to a reporter who asked if the league pursued a potential violation revealed by Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne, who told the Miami Herald in late February that he had been meeting with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in the period before the official offseason began.

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said the violations aren't related to the league's lockout of players, which began March 12, hours after negotiations broke off and the union dissolved. Even during normal offseasons, from the end of one season until around March 15, NFL rules bar teams from holding organized workouts, practice or meetings, and don't allow position coaches to supervise players.

"It's a 'go home and relax' period," Pash said.

Since the lockout began, no contact between the league's 32 teams and players has been allowed. Players aren't paid and can't negotiate new contracts. They also aren't allowed to use team facilities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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