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Bears’ Khalil Mack to NFL: ‘Address health and safety concerns’

The Bears outside linebacker joined a chorus of NFL stars Sunday in lobbying for owners to agree to safety protocols by the start of training camp.

Khalil Mack is entering his third season with the Bears.
Khalil Mack is entering his third season with the Bears.
AP Photos

Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack joined a chorus of NFL stars on Sunday in lobbying for owners to agree to safety protocols by the start of training camp.

“NFL, please address health and safety concerns so we can play football this year! #itsonlyright #cantwait,” Mack wrote on Twitter.

Terms of the collective bargaining agreement dictate that players must report to training camp July 28. Rookies can arrive Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players Thursday. The Texans and Super Bowl champion Chiefs can welcome rookies Monday, though, because they are playing in the regular-season opener on a Thursday night.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association, though, still do not agree on the frequency of coronavirus tests, the details of an opt-out clause and whether or not there will be preseason games.

The union wants players tested daily, while the league has suggested every other day.

A joint medical committee formed by the league and the union recommended a longer acclimation period to make up for the lack of team-driven offseason workouts, but the two sides don’t agree on how that suggestion would be implemented. The NFL wants to play two preseason games, while the union has countered with zero, viewing them as a needless risk.

In a coordinated effort Sunday morning, NFL stars began Tweeting with the hashtag #wewanttoplay to put pressure on owners to agree to the NFLPA’s suggestions.

Quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees were among the prominent players to Tweet. Sam Acho, the former Bears linebacker and current NFLPA vice president, wrote that the NFL “waited until the last minute and ignored the recommendations of experts.”

The two sides are still negotiating, and the clock is ticking.

“What you are seeing today is our guys standing up for each other and for the work their union leadership has done to keep everyone as safe as possible,” NFLPA president J.C. Tretter, the Browns center, said in a tweet. “The NFL needs to listen to our union and adopt the experts’ recommendations.”