As it stands now, veteran NFL players only are required to show up for a three-day minicamp during the nine-week offseason program. The NFLPA has focused its attention of the voluntary portion of organized team activities, and players from 20 teams have released statements saying many of them will not participate.
But if the NFLPA had its way, this offseason — and every other future offseason — would look a lot like last offseason when everything was virtual. Players would not have to show up in person until training camp.
“We believe that the science and everything we’ve talked about before, would strongly demonstrate that we’d be better off not having even the mandatory minicamp,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Monday, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “With respect to the conversations we’re having with our players right now, it’s all about the voluntary OTAs. If there was going to be a change to the mandatory minicamps, that would have to be collectively bargained.”
That’s key: The mandatory minicamps — one for rookies and another for all players — were collectively bargained. The NFL has no intention of eliminating them.
The voluntary offseason programs, which began Monday, also aren’t going away despite the union citing a 23 percent reduction in missed-time injuries and a 30 percent reduction in concussions last season with no offseason workouts or preseason games.
Many players across the league showed up at their team training facilities Monday despite the union’s recommendation to skip voluntary work not tied to a workout bonus.