Last month, the Bears players issued a statement indicating that “the majority” of the team would exercise its right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts. On Monday, the vast majority of the team showed up.
Via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com, approximately 70 players attended the first day of Phase Two. On offense, Dickerson reports that the Bears had near-perfect attendance.
To boost attendance, the Bears eliminated a full week of OTA practices. Coach Matt Nagy has said that, for Phase Two, three-fourths of the work will entail strength and conditioning, with only 25 percent of the time spent on football.
“[I]t’s going to be head and class on the grass, walk-through, mental,” Nagy said. “So when these guys come in, we want to see where they’re at physically, offensively running routes, whatever we can do on air which are the rules. But a lot of it for the first week is going to be strength and conditioning and mental, and then we’re going to slowly ramp up into more as we go.”
Multiple teams are making concessions regarding the offseason program in order to encourage attendance. The NFL Players Association should start publicizing these gains, in the hopes that other teams will follow suit.