Organized Team Activities are voluntary in the NFL, and Packers coach Matt LaFleur knows he can’t force players to attend. But LaFleur isn’t going to pretend he doesn’t want everyone there.
“Each guy has that right to make that choice. If you’re asking me, I want everybody here,” LaFleur said, via Jason Wilde of the State Journal. “I think some of the thought process may have changed over what’s transpired over the last two years, especially with our COVID situation where we didn’t have OTAs. But my thing to our guys is, ‘Well, neither did anybody else. So everybody who was playing, had the same circumstances that they were dealing with.’ Obviously now, with everybody being open, you’d like to see as many guys as possible here.”
Aaron Rodgers is the most noteworthy absence so long from voluntary work, but others include cornerback Jaire Alexander, outside linebacker Preston Smith, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, tight end Marcedes Lewis and outside linebackers Rashan Gary, Jonathan Garvin and Randy Ramsey.
“I’m not comfortable with anybody not being here. I’d like ‘em all here,” LaFleur said. “Again, it’s their choice. Next week is mandatory minicamp, so there’s consequences obviously for not coming.”
The reality is, for most of the players on the 90-man offseason roster, the consequences of not attending voluntary work are that they aren’t going to make the 53-man regular-season roster. Those players know they have to be there.
But for Rodgers and other stars, the consequences of not being there are insignificant. Coaches want everyone there, but players who know their roster spots are safe often choose to spend their summers elsewhere.