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Arbitrator rules against Jaguars, Tom Coughlin in grievance with NFLPA

In a blistering statement, the NFL Players Association cautioned players against signing with the Jaguars

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to fine former defensive end Dante Fowler more than $700,000 for missing “mandatory” appointments with a team trainer or physician.

An arbitrator recently ruled in favor of the NFLPA, negating the fines levied by Jacksonville in 2018.

The NFLPA responded by blistering the Jaguars in a statement.

“This is just one of the many grievances we had to file to protect our players from the Jaguars’ actions,” the NFLPA said. “The decision puts a stop to the blatant overreach by the Jaguars and emphasizes the voluntary nature of almost all football activities during the offseason.”

The arbitrator affirmed that, under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams cannot require rehabilitation or medical appointments at team facilities during the offseason.

The Jaguars, under the direction of personnel chief Tom Coughlin, tried to require injured players to get all rehab at the team facility. When players failed to attend the sessions, the club disciplined them.

In response, the players’ union filed a grievance challenging the club’s right to discipline players in those circumstances.

Fowler, who was not named in the NFLPA’s news release and now plays for the Los Angeles Rams, to whom he was traded in October 2018, was fined 25 times for missing those appointments.

“It should be noted that Jaguars players continue to be at odds with Jaguars management over their rights under the CBA far more than players on other clubs,” the NFLPA said. “In the last two years, more than 25% of the grievances filed by players in the entire league have been filed against the Jaguars.

“You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club.”

Mark Long covers the Jaguars and Gators for The Associated Press. You can find him on Twitter @APMarkLong

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