Well, they’re falling like dominos now. A handful of teams had already issued statements through the NFLPA declaring their opposition to in-person offseason workouts, and now three more clubs have joined them.
The Bears, Browns and Giants became the latest three teams to announce they prefer a virtual offseason, which the NFL had last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the statements from this new trio respectively through these Twitter links. Chicago, Cleveland, and New York are now the sixth, seventh and eighth teams to issue such statements.
The Broncos, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Lions and Patriots have already done so. On Wednesday, the league announced the schedule for offseason workouts, which can begin on Monday April 19. The Browns’ statement begins by saying “the NFL’s memo outlining how they plan to implement voluntary workouts falls short of what we as players believe is adequate.”
Cleveland’s statement is perhaps especially notable since Browns center J.C. Tretter is president of the NFLPA. He was tagged in the post. The Bears’ says “the majority of our locker room,” seemingly indicating some players will be attending. The Patriots’ said something similar.
With this now being a growing trend across the league, there is going to be a lot of fallout, and this is far from the last we’ll hear of it. Many players have workout bonuses tied to these phases, so it’ll be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
The NFL responded to some player complaints with a memo touting the benefits of in-person workouts at team facilities, which you can read courtesy of Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The league points out that any player who gets hurt at an in-person workout will be covered financially, but a player who gets hurt while working out on their own won’t be. More teams will likely follow suit in the coming days, so stay tuned.