August 16, 2004
Belichick Needs to Get Creative With Injuries
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
FOXBORO, MA -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan have always been known for being a bit "vague" about their injury reports each week, and now it appears the NFL is looking to crack down on coaches who try and keep this information from the media and their opponents.
Both AFC coaches have developed a reputation for withholding as much information as possible, even to the point where they've received complaints from the league. However it now appears that they’ll need to become a bit more creative going forward.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue reportedly sent a memorandum to all 32 teams on Monday outlining new guidelines for the league's injury information. The new guidelines apparently state that teams will no longer be able to issue such vague injury reports as "leg," and going forward injuries must be reported in more specific terms such as "ankle, knee, thigh or calf."
The new report also says that teams will also be required to inform the local media when any player misses any portion of the 11-on-11 team work in practice that takes place on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday during the season.
The league has also imposed a mandatory Friday update of team injury report.
The changes in the policy came about after a review of the injury information by the NFL Competition Committee and are expected to be strictly enforced and subject to disciplinary action.
Fans may remember Shanahan "fibbing" to the media during a week 2 meeting against the San Diego Chargers last year after quarterback Jake Plummer suffered an injury.
At the half he told CBS that Plummer had a concussion, but acknowledged afterwords that the injury was actually a separated shoulder.
Shanahan's reason for downplaying the injury was because he didn't want the Chargers to know Plummer couldn't throw if he had to re-enter the game.
Subsequently, all 32-teams were reportedly notified by Tagliabue that future "fibs" would be disciplined.
Belichick also took some heat from the league last season after listing Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour on the injury report as "Probable" leading up to their week 9 Monday night match-up last season against the Broncos.
In the end Seymour failed to make the trip to Denver, and the league ended up fining the Patriots.
STORY UPDATED: 8/17/2004 10:48AM ET