The NFL has not said anything specific about how offseason programs are going to unfold this year, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said before the Super Bowl that “virtual is going to be part of our lives” whether in-person work returns this year.
Some on the players side would like everything to be virtual. Browns center and NFL Players Association president JC Tretter believes “there is no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program.” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians shared his view of why Tretter and other established players feel that way while advocating for a return to the pre-pandemic way of doing things.
“If we lose spring, [young players] are not getting developed. The veterans love that s–t, because that means they don’t get to take their jobs,” Arians said, via Greg Auman of TheAthletic.com. “So when you have the veterans voting on the rules. . . . these young kids need practice. If the vets don’t want to come, they don’t have to come. It’s still voluntary. We need the preseason, we definitely need some preseason games.”
Tretter and other players have also talked about feeling healthier after an offseason without on-field work, but Arians said he would “fight what they’re saying about the injuries” because players had more issues early in camp than he’d seen in past seasons.
Other veteran players have shared their view about the benefits of OTAs and other offseason work, but it still remains to be seen just how things will look heading into the 2021 season.