While offseason workouts are technically voluntary for players, most of them show up and that means that whenever a player isn’t working, coaches get asked about it.
For the Colts, who began OTAs this week, they have a few players missing practice due to injury and rehab, and then Frank Gore is in Miami working out as he tends to some family matters. But there’s also a different situation, as Anthony Walker isn’t with the team due to school obligations.
When asked where Walker was, Chuck Pagano said that he has school and therefore can’t be with the Colts yet.
Here’s the deal: the NFL doesn’t allow rookies to participate in their new team’s offseason workouts until they finish school, so if their school’s semester is still ongoing then that player won’t be able to participate in the offseason workouts. This is something that frequently affects Stanford players, including Andrew Luck in 2012. So with Walker, since Northwestern’s semester doesn’t end until early June, he currently isn’t allowed to participate with the Colts.
He was able to work during the team’s three-day rookie mini-camp and he received valuable reps there and worked on calling plays defensively too, but now with the team in OTAs he’s missing opportunities with the rest of the team. While it’s admirable of the NFL to want to try to encourage players to finish out their semesters and get their degrees, this rule is quite ridiculous. It’s basically making some players choose between dropping out of school early before their last semester or missing out on some valuable team reps during the offseason. You’d think a young man who was just drafted into the NFL would be able to make a decision on whether to miss classes for his new job as he works with a team, but that’s not the case.
So for the time being, Anthony Walker is finishing up school and the NFL rules are keeping him from being with the Colts until he does. Whenever he does join the team he will join the host of players competing for the starting inside linebacker spots; it’s just unfortunate he’s not getting the opportunity to do so right now.