The San Francisco 49ers begin training camp on Thursday with players reporting to Santa Clara for physical examinations. The new CBA specifically addresses issues of player health as it relates to training camp and practice time. These issues will impact the 49ers and the rest of the NFL as they begin their somewhat limited preparations for the upcoming season.
The new CBA requires teams report no more than 16 days before each team's first preseason game. That provides 15 days of practice and one day solely for physical examinations and other non-practice activities. The second and third day of training camp cannot have pads or contact. Those days would be Friday and Saturday for the Raiders.
One of the big changes is the removal of two-a-days. Teams are no longer allowed to conduct multiple padded practices in a single day. Instead, teams are allowed one padded practice limited to three hours with any second practice up to a four hour limit being a walk through.
It's worth noting that free agents signed by the team, even their own, are required to report with their team but are not allowed to take part in physical workouts until the official start of the league year, which is expected to land on August 4. Prior to that date, signed free agents (again, including their own re-signed free agents) can be required to attend meetings, classroom instruction and any other non-physical activities scheduled during the training camp. They are not allowed to participate in on-field activities, workouts, weight training, or other physical activities. These restrictions do not apply to drafted or undrafted rookies who are under contract at any point.
For the 49ers, that means Alex Smith, Ray McDonald, Tony Wragge and any other free agents won't be practicing until August 4. This is particularly intriguing given the fact that with the decision to cut David Carr, Colin Kaepernick will be the only quarterback practicing for the next week.