Let the latest standoff between the NFL and NFL Players Association commence.
Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president JC Tretter reportedly said during a Friday call with players that they should threaten to boycott in-person offseason workouts organized by teams because of ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per statements released by the NFLPA, players for the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks declared their intentions to do just that.
A statement on behalf of the Denver Broncos players: pic.twitter.com/b7ZQZ1Z7PY— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 13, 2021
A statement on behalf of the Seattle Seahawks players: pic.twitter.com/4Bwl4KkEOI— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 13, 2021
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and Tretter continue to urge all players to avoid voluntary in-person workouts that can begin next Monday.
Offseason programs are scheduled to begin Monday. JC Tretter told players on a call last week the NFL's last proposal was to have the first two weeks be virtual, then start in-person. The union wants everything prior to training camp to be virtual, including mandatory minicamp.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 13, 2021
The #Broncos have had 22 players work out at the facility this offseason, second only to the #Cowboys with 25, per source. A dozen teams have had 15 or more. So, while the NFLPA and players emphasize safety issues of returning to facilities, many are already there.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 13, 2021
It was expected in late March that the NFL and NFLPA would agree to relax certain health and safety protocols for teams that hit a set percentage of vaccinated personnel, and the league recently sent a memo to teams encouraging players to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots. With coronavirus infections spiking throughout the United States this spring, though, the players may feel they have all the data they need to avoid in-person activities for the foreseeable future.
Fans shouldn't worry at this stage of the process, though, as there is currently no indication negotiations over workouts will have any impact on actual games or the start of the 2021 regular season.