The displeasure with a rule that is keeping prized first-round pick Christian McCaffrey from joining the Panthers for organized team activities and minicamp has reached the team's locker room.
The NFL mandates that draft picks from schools on a quarter system can only participate in rookie minicamp until final exams are complete. The rule applies to McCaffrey since Stanford is on a quarter system, even though he's no longer enrolled.
McCaffrey and Carolina coach Ron Rivera have both expressed their disapproval of the rule. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen joined the chorus Wednesday, calling it "antiquated."
"I think that is just backwards," Olsen said on NFL Network's Inside Minicamp Live. "I think that at some point the NFL and the NCAA years ago or decades ago, whenever the time frame is kind of struck up that agreement as a 'we'll take care of you, you take care of us'. I think it's so outdated. That rational is just not up to date with how things operate. In today's world a kid makes a decision, he moves on to another step in his career and leaves school early, is not even enrolled, never started the next quarter or semester -- whatever they're on. He was training for the combine, (and) draft. It's just seems like an antiquated rule that definitely needs to be revisited.
"At the end of the day, these kids are being hurt. Here's a young kid looking to come in and become acclimated with a new team and join the NFL, make a huge step in his career and his life. Because of something completely out of his control, he's forbidden from being with us the last month or two from the time he was drafted. It makes no sense."
The good news for them, although it won't benefit McCaffrey at this point, is that there have been preliminary discussions between the NFL and the American Football Coaches Association about changing the rule, according to the Charlotte Observer. The AFCA pushed for the rule's implementation 25 years ago, per the report.
McCaffrey won't be there next week when the Panthers open minicamp because of the rule, but he might be one of the last players forced to abide by it.