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Greg Schiano's Tampa Bay Bucs hitting during OTAs?

Contact is forbidden during organized team activities, but one reporter covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers says action on the field earlier this month crossed the line.

"It's football practice, without pads," Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune told WHFS-FM on May 20, via "I'll tell you what, Greg Schiano is right on the border of getting investigated and possibly -- I don't know if they would fine him, I don't know what the penalty is -- but these guys are out there, they're hitting. ... There (are) no pads on, but I'm telling you, the linemen, these guys are hitting.

"People are going down on the ground. And it's interesting. I mean, most of this was second- and third-team guys; it wasn't the front-line guys. So there's a little bit of what Jon Gruden used to call 'practice etiquette' that I think has to be learned here, but they're going at it pretty good."

Buccaneers OTAs got off to a physical start last week when a confrontation between defensive tackle Akeem Spence and center Jeremy Zuttah descended into what Cummings described as a "melee" that involved 22 guys on the field and "went on for a while."

Said Cummings: "I can't imagine it's being ordered, I think it's just guys being a little bit overzealous, they're trying to earn a spot. And that's part of what this part of the season is about."

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Not if it involves contact. The NFL punished the Seattle Seahawks last June for violating the collective bargaining agreement's offseason workout rules for incorporating live contact during OTAs. The league stripped coach Pete Carroll of two practices and a planned workout.

If Schiano and friends crossed the line, the league will look into it. Contact at this time of year is not something the NFL has been wishy-washy about. The rules are crystal clear.

UPDATE: League spokesman Greg Aiello told and NFL Network on Wednesday: "We have no comment on this particular report. There is a system in place with the NFLPA to monitor the rules for offseason work. It includes spot checking video, in-person spot checks by representatives of our office or the union, reviewing media reports and responding to requests from the NFLPA for a review of a potential violation."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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