NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said recently that the union will encourage players not to report for voluntary in-person work because the union believes it is not the safest approach and players from one team have released a statement saying they are taking that step.
The NFLPA released a statement from Broncos players on Tuesday announcing that they will not participate in voluntary offseason workouts. They cite a lack of adequate COVID-19 protocols as the reason for the decision and say that players have been infected at club facilities recently.
“Playing in the NFL is a dream of our players who work tirelessly year-round to perform in America’s greatest game,” the statement said. “With offseason programs starting in less than a week and without adequate protocols in place in order for us players to return safely, we will be exercising our right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts. COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and to our communities, and it makes no sense to us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period. Positivity rates in our city are higher than they were at this time last year and we know players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks. Despite having a completely virtual offseason last year, the quality of play across the NFL was better than ever by almost every measure. We hope players across the NFL work with our union as we did to get all of the facts so every player can make an informed decision.”
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the players made their decision in a call on Monday night.
The NFL announced that offseason programs can begin on April 19. Meetings will take place on a remote basis, but players can work out at team facilities in small groups and the league said that they anticipate other in-person work taking place, but they have not specified when that might take place and how much work teams would be permitted to do this offseason.