NFLPA urging players to not attend in-person voluntary workouts
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFLPA press conference in advance of the Super Bowl LIII. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL recently informed teams that they are clear to begin the first phase of their voluntary workout programs on April 19, but many players and teams are not planning to train at their respective facilities.

In statements released through the NFL Players Association, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks players announced on Tuesday that they will not take part in the start of voluntary workouts next week. They cited the COVID-19 pandemic and said they will not report for in-person activities “without adequate protocols in place.”

It should be noted that the Broncos have already had players working out at their team facility this offseason. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that 22 Broncos players have worked out at the team facility since last season ended, which is second only to the Dallas Cowboys and their 25 players.

The NFLPA has been urging players to only take part in virtual workouts for the time being. NFLPA president JC Tretter said the latest proposal from the NFL called for the first two weeks of offseason workouts to be virtual before switching to in-person. The union wants everything prior to training camp — including mandatory minicamp — to be virtual.

Not having in-person workouts is a huge issue for team development. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently shared why veteran players might prefer virtual workouts, and the reasons go beyond fearing for their safety. Rob Gronkowski basically tried to cheat his way through virtual workouts last year, though it obviously didn’t hurt the Bucs in the long run.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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