At a time when dysfunction in the coaching staff and front office has created headlines for the Eagles, the players say they’re on the same page as to the biggest football issue of the day.
Eagles players issued on Sunday morning a statement indicating that none of them will show up for in-person voluntary workouts. By our count, that’s 19 teams to issue a statement, although some have been far more equivocal than others.
There’s nothing equivocal about Philly’s. The players say they aren’t going.
“We believe in the solidarity of players across the NFL and using our collective voice to stand up for each other and what’s right,” the statement reads. “Our teammates have come together to make a decision as a team as to what is best for us this offseason. We have shared and talked about the facts from our union and our players will not be attending in-person voluntary workouts.
“We know that every player has to make a decision that is best for him, but to stand in solidarity with the brotherhood of players across the NFL, we have decided to come together on this choice.
“The ongoing pandemic is obviously still an issue for our city and our country, and it is unnecessary for us to put ourselves at risk in this environment. We also know what the data shows about our overall health and safety.
“As a team and as professionals, we will hold each other accountable as we always do to stay in shape and get ready for the upcoming season.”
The pandemic continues to be a pretext for this overall push to skip offseason workouts. With the same protocols that were used last season in place for the offseason and with vaccinations widely available, there’s no reason for players who didn’t seem to be troubled by the pandemic in 2020 to be suddenly concerned about it in 2021.
Regardless, the workouts are voluntary and the players don’t have to attend. Players who believe they can get a better workout on their own are entitled to do so.
Although this may rankle coaches, the owners and even the front-office executives don’t care. Eventually, the teams will be ready to go when September rolls around. The best 53 will have roster spots. No one is boycotting the mandatory minicamp or training camp over these issues.
Whether it’s driven by a belief that an in-person program is never needed or by the fact that players are pissed about the 17-game season or protecting veteran roster spots or any other reason (other than the pandemic), the players have the right to do it. Whether all of them will actually stay away — especially once rookies show up — is a different issue.