Solid reasons exist for participating in “voluntary” workouts

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The concept of voluntary offseason workouts generates plenty of consternation for football media and fans. Some react angrily whenever anyone points out that a player has chosen to stay away from voluntary sessions. Others believe that all players should volunteer to show up for any and every practice, voluntary or not.

For me, it’s a source of constant conflict. On one hand, I support the ability of players to choose not to be there. They’ve earned that right via collective bargaining. Indeed, I’ve argued on many occasions that, if all players were to boycott voluntary offseason drills, the NFL would immediately make a major concession at the bargaining table in order to get them to come back.

On the other hand, there’s value in working out with the team. For starters, an injury suffered when a player works out on his own, he has no financial protection. If he blow out an Achilles tendon, he doesn’t have to be paid. Conversely, if he gets injured at the facility, he’s covered.

Also, there’s value in building camaraderie, establishing relationships, and participating in a shared sacrifice — especially for players who are new to a team, like Jets running back Le'Veon Bell. He hasn’t participated in any aspect of an offseason program in at least three years; there’s real value in Bell making a statement to his new teammates, new coaches, new media, and new fans that, like most other players on the team, he’s all in.

Of course, if the Jets wanted to ensure that he’d be there, the Jets could have loaded significant workout bonuses and/or salary de-escalators into his deal, creating a financial incentive to show up. They didn’t, and Bell is now exercising his broader contractual rights to not be there.

Again, he has that right. At some point, however, it’s about building a team. It will be hard for Bell to be part of that if he’s not there, working alongside a brand new set of teammates.

11 responses to “Solid reasons exist for participating in “voluntary” workouts

  1. The biggest thing this guy will do is eat money contractually. He was exceptionally worried last year about getting hurt for good reason: three significant lower body injuries in 5 years along with a couple of surgeries. It’s just a question of when he’ll get hurt.

    As for him skipping voluntary workouts, I agree that building bonds with your new teammates is important. But it’s not surprising that he didn’t put in the effort to be there for the voluntary practices. IMO, the guy’s only real loyalty is to his paychecks.

  2. Bell is more interested in playing videos likely under the influence, water sports and making bad rap tapes than he is in being a true professional and a good teammate. At least he is consistent tho.

  3. To all the geniuses who down voted my comment about Bell being the best overall back in the league in an earlier post today please answer me this: If he’s not then who is? when I say overall I mean catching passes, blocking and running. By this standard he’s so clearly head and shoulders above everyone else and it’s laughable to suggest otherwise.
    Your unwarranted personal hatred for him has obviously clouded your judgement and caused you to be biased against him. Sorry to have to be the one to give you the truth

  4. Bell is a “headcase.” He hasn’t played pro football in a long time. Now he doesn’t show up and volunteer for anything. Beckham is “all about me.” Why owners get hooked on these players is unknown. They carry way too much risk versus value to a team.

  5. Wouldn’t loading “significant workout bonuses and/or salary de-escalators into his deal” violate the CBA regarding voluntary workouts? Has he missed mandatory preseason sessions with the Jets, or am I missing something?

  6. “Also, there’s value in building camaraderie, establishing relationships, and participating in a shared sacrifice — especially for players who are new to a team, like Jets running back Le’Veon Bell. He hasn’t participated in any aspect of an offseason program in at least three years; there’s real value in Bell making a statement to his new teammates, new coaches, new media, and new fans that, like most other players on the team, he’s all in.”

    His performance in the regular season will dictate what fans care about. If he busts out the gate against the Bill on Sept 9 performing how he had at or near his previous peak, is your typical fan really going to care that he didn’t show up in May? If he starts off slow, which he’s had a tendency of doing, or gets injured early, people will be annoyed.

  7. Enough already. Bell got what he wanted: BIG $$$

    He doesn’t care about building camaraderie with his team mates. It’s all about the $$$ and his social media (Hey! Look At Me!)

    The cancer is now Gangrene (HA HA)

  8. spartanlegend says:
    May 7, 2019 at 11:50 am
    To all the geniuses who down voted my comment about Bell being the best overall back in the league in an earlier post today please answer me this: If he’s not then who is?

    ###

    Every RB that gained one or more yards last year performed better than Bell.

    I estimate that means that 100 or more (32 teams x 3+ RBs per team.

    I double and triple checked Bell’s stats and he didn’t have any…

  9. Best RB in football, I don’t care if he is poolside right now cause on Sept. 8th he will be mowing down Bills defenders.

  10. Bell looks at the word team and on sees the letters ‘m’ and ‘e’.

    Anyone who thinks Bell, with his lack of breakaway speed and his decreasing numbers of long runs hasn’t been paying attention.

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