Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. (56) confirmed on social media that he was fined more than $700,000 for missing treatments with a trainer or physician in the off-season. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- An NFL arbiter ruled that the Jacksonville Jaguars can't fine players for missing off-season appointments after the National Football League Players Association and former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. filed a grievance against the organization.
The NFLPA filed the grievance against the Jaguars because the team fined one player more than $700,000 for missing treatments in the 2018 off-season. Fowler, who was traded to the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 campaign, confirmed on social media that he was the unnamed player.
"They literally hated me," Fowler wrote on Twitter. "I got it all back though! Thanks to the NFLPA."
According to a letter the NFLPA sent to players Monday, the union said the jointly appointed arbiter ruled that off-season activities are "strictly voluntary" and no NFL team can make those activities mandatory. Teams are barred from requiring players to rehab or attend medical appointments at team facilities in the off-season or pre-training camp period.
Per the NFLPA's letter, Fowler was fined 25 times for more than $700,000. The union said it was "just one of the many grievances we had to file to protect our players from the Jaguars' actions" and "puts a stop to the blatant overreach by the Jaguars."
The letter also said that Jaguars players continue to clash with the team over their rights under the league's collective bargaining agreement "far more than players on other clubs." The letter added that over 25 percent of grievances filed by players have been against the Jaguars and "you as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club."
The NFLPA didn't name anyone with the Jaguars, but executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin previously got into trouble with the union over similar matters. The NFLPA investigated the Jaguars after Coughlin sent a letter to multiple players in March 2017 and told them to return to Jacksonville for physicals.
Coughlin also was at odds with former Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith for skipping voluntary off-season workouts.
The Jaguars (5-9) will visit the Atlanta Falcons (5-9) on Sunday before ending the regular season with a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.