The NFL Players Association wants the entire 2021 offseason program to be virtual in an effort to reduce injuries and due to safety concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Only about 300 of 2,500 players have workout bonuses they’d lose if they skip OTAs. Under the CBA, the lone mandatory work prior to training camp is a June minicamp, which the union also wants to be virtual this year amidst the ongoing COVID pandemic. Talks with owners continue.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 9, 2021
Tretter recently authored a column in which he highlighted how much the unprecedented 2020 offseason led to a huge reduction in player injuries across the league. Key points from that column were posted by the NFLPA:
ICYMI: Here's some of the biggest takeaways from President @jctretter's latest column on injury data. Why what's good for the players is good for the game: https://t.co/MKQUyt6t3z. pic.twitter.com/vEZJIvUK7Q— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 3, 2021
Although plenty of notable stars went down with major injuries last season, the data shows that the multitude of virtual meetings as opposed to grueling, physical practices and the cancellation of the preseason actually helped mitigate injuries overall.
The NFL recently moved forward with plans to reduce preseason games from four to three, but that came at the cost of a 17th regular-season game.
While the extra game on the slate is going to generate additional revenue for the league, the players themselves are put at risk once again. No additional bye week accompanied the expanded regular-season schedule.
Organized team activities are voluntary in the first place, so this issue could really come to a head if NFL players wind up boycotting mandatory June minicamps.