NFL players are officially getting back to work.
The Bears and Cardinals reporting for duty officially kicks off the initial phase of the NFL's three-phase offseason workout program, as dictated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Phase one consists of the first two weeks, with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. In short, starting today, Cardinals and Bears players can work out at the team facility, not much more.
Phase two takes place the following three weeks, and consists of on-field workouts with individual player instruction and drills, as well as team practice conducted on a "separates" basis -- i.e. not team offense vs. defense drills.
Phase three occurs over the next four weeks, in which teams can conduct 10 days of OTAs (organized team activities), during which no live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills can take place.
In addition, teams are allotted one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. Clubs with new coaches are entitled an additional voluntary veteran minicamp.