BEREA, Ohio – Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden is absent from the Browns first week of organized team activity (OTA) practices this week due to an antiquated NFL rule, but his absence isn’t expected to be a long one.
Browns Head Coach Rob Chudinski said McFadden will be back next week, and that’s good news for both the team and for McFadden.
NFL rules prohibit rookies whose schools are still in regular academic session from attending OTAs. In some past cases, players have had to miss the entire OTA period. The rule does not apply to full-squad minicamp, which most teams hold in June to conclude this portion of their offseason.
Under the new CBA, teams get 10 OTA days that most use over three weeks, then wrap up with a three-day, full-squad minicamp in either the first or second week of June. The rule used to keep Ohio State players out of OTAs, but Ohio State switched from quarters to semesters for the 2012-13 academic year.
McFadden’s absence is glaring because the secondary is arguably the Browns’ weakest area at this point; it certainly seems to be the thinnest. A third-round pick last month, McFadden should get snaps immediately and compete for a starting job. Buster Skrine worked opposite Joe Haden Thursday in the first practice open to the media.
Undrafted rookie running back Robbie Rouse (Fresno State) is also absent from OTAs due to the academic calendar issue.