Many things about the offseason program have changed for 2020. One thing remains the same: The virtual offseason program is voluntary.
Monday’s memo to all teams from the NFL Management Council makes it clear that players who are stuck at home aren’t required to spend any of their time at home devoted to the four-hours-per-day, four-days-per-week virtual program.
“As in prior years, player participation in offseason workout programs remains strictly voluntary,” the memo explains. “No Club official may indicate to a player that the Club’s offseason workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary, or that a player’s failure to participate in the Virtual Period or the On-Field Period will result in the player’s failure to make the Club, or in any other adverse consequences affecting his working conditions.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to imagine players not participating. They’ve got nothing else to do, so why not make the $235 per day to work from home, especially at a time when anyone else who can work from home is doing so?
That said, if they don’t want to do it, they don’t have to do it. And the difference with the virtual program is that, unless the team tells the media that the player isn’t participating, no one will know that he isn’t — unlike the years when it’s obvious that the player is skipping the workouts because he’s physically not present for them.