Because NFL coaches can’t say anything indicating that voluntary workouts are anything but voluntary, there aren’t many ways to get them to talk about players who have chosen to stay away from voluntary practices.
In Philadelphia, safety Malcolm Jenkins is boycotting voluntary offseason workouts. On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked to discuss the impact of his absence.
“[H]e’s one of our most experienced players and biggest leaders,” Schwartz said, before adopting a more neutral position. “Again, that’s really not anything unusual when you look around the NFL. There are different guys in, different guys out, different guys have different parts of their career. Some guys benefit from more rest; some from more work. Every case is a little bit different. . . .
“I know this, when the chips are down, you’ll be able to count on Malcolm Jenkins. And a lot of other guys we’re trying to find that out about, and that’s what they’re doing here at this time of year. Malcolm has some of those credits already in his bank account.”
Indeed he does. And indeed he’ll be there when it’s time to play. But skipping voluntary drills is one of the only ways that a player can exert any leverage without risking fines.
For Jenkins, the question becomes whether he’ll show up for the looming mandatory minicamp. Usually, guys who stay away from voluntary drills report for the mandatory session. But sometimes they don’t.