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Arizona Cardinals training camp opens today, what are NFL rules?

It is finally here!

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Today is a glorious day for Arizona Cardinals fans, as well as fans of many other NFL teams. Day 1 of of 2015 training camp is here. The veterans report today and the team takes its conditioning test in the afternoon.

For fans, it represents the return of football. There will be real football content about their team -- not just speculative lists and opinions. The power rankings will begin, but players will begin wearing pads and hitting each other.

Fans get to cheer on their team in practice, as the Cardinals will hold 19 open practices at University of Phoenix Stadium.

But before the fun starts, there are some rules related to training camp. Here they are:


Day 1: Limited to physical examinations, meetings, and classroom instruction; no on-field activities other than running and conditioning

Day 2-3: No contact permitted, no pads worn (This means no pads until Monday)

Day 4 and on: Two-a-day practices permitted with following rules:

  • Players may be on the field for a total of no more than 4 hours per day;
  • Players may participate in no more than 1 padded practice per day, which shall be no longer than 3 hours of on-field activities;
  • There must be at least a 3 hour break after the practice, and the second practice on the same day may only be for a maximum of the remaining available on-field time, and shall be limited to only "walk-through" instruction (i.e., no helmets, full-speed pre-snap, and walking pace after the snap).
  • The three-hour limit on padded practices shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field.
  • In the event that a Club begins a padded practice but such practice is cancelled within sixty minutes of its commencement due to inclement weather or for any other reason beyond the Club's control, such practice shall not count as a padded practice
  • A "padded practice" shall be defined as a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the Club.
  • It is not a padded practice if, 1) QBs, kickers, punters, and/or long snappers only wear helmets and/or shoulder pads during practice at the option of the player(s); 2) a player who suffered a head injury is directed by a club physician to wear a helmet as a precautionary measure; 3) the quarterback and/or the defensive player who receives signals from the coaching staff via helmet communication wear helmets during the team period in which helmets are used for such communication.


Teams have to film all on-field activities, and maintain a copy of any film until 30 days after the start of the regular season. The NFLPA can review the films only upon the filing of a complaint alleging a violation the Article 23.

Expenses, per diem, room and board

A player's contract pays a base salary, but that base salary is generally only paid during the 17 weeks of the regular season. Players can request an alternate pay schedule, but for base salary, payment comes during the regular season.

During training camp, players receive compensation in a variety of ways. Section 2 of the Article provides that all players players will receive room and board during the pre­-season training camp. Additionally, if a player has not established residence in the team's city, the team has to provide housing between training camp and the Tuesday prior to the team's first regular season game.

Section 3 and 4 provide that all players will receive per diem payments starting the first day of training camp, and ending one week prior to the team's first regular season game. There is one rate for rookies and "first year" players, and another rate for veteran players. A "first year" player is a player who has not completed a season in which a year of "credited service" has been earned. Players on the practice squad would be an example of that. Rookies and first year players get a per diem at a weekly rate of $925, while veterans get a per diem at a weekly rate of $1,700.

Section 8 provides that the team will reimburse all players under contract for reasonable travel expenses incurred in reaching training camp from the players' residences. The players need to submit vouchers. If a player is released by the team, he will be reimbursed for their return trip to their residence, upon submission of vouchers