Players from 3 NFL teams: we won’t report for voluntary workouts
Players from the Broncos and Seahawks, followed by the Buccaneers, released statements Tuesday saying they will not report for voluntary offseason workouts. Others figure to follow suit.
The NFL Players Association fired the first volley in a battle with NFL teams over in-person offseason training Tuesday, as players from the Broncos and Seahawks issued statements that they would not participate in voluntary offseason program workouts. Other teams are expected to follow their lead. Buccaneers players issued a similar statement Tuesday night.
The offseason programs are scheduled to begin Monday.
At issue is the NFL’s desire to have in-person offseason programs after an entirely virtual offseason program last year because of the coronavirus. Teams did not have in-person activities until training camps opened in July. The NFLPA wants to maintain that set-up this season, pending changes in coronavirus-related risks.
“For the protection of everyone’s safety, we the Seattle Seahawks are deciding to exercise our CBA right to not participate in voluntary in-person workouts,” the Seahawks players statement said, referring to the collective bargaining agreement. “While many states in this country are still seeing rising COVID-19 numbers, we believe that a virtual offseason is best for everyone’s protection.
“Our hope is that we will see a positive shift in the COVID-19 data that will allow for a safe return for players when mandatory workouts are set to begin.”
The NFL offseason program is voluntary for each team in April and May before mandatory mini-camps in early June. Virtually every player participates in the voluntary program, with usually only players unhappy with their contract status declining to attend. Per the CBA, players cannot be fined for missing the voluntary portion of the offseason program.