CLEVELAND, Ohio — While the NFL expressed optimism this week that in-person OTAs and minicamps will take place this spring, NFLPA President J.C. Tretter and the union are urging players to boycott such workouts amid the ongoing pandemic.
“We’ve been telling them, it’s voluntary and we’re not gonna go,’’ Tretter said, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The NFLPA conducted an all-player conference call on Friday to inform players that they’ll be safer and healthier with a second all-virtual offseason, a league source told cleveland.com.
Details of the offseason program, which is scheduled to begin April 19, are still being collectively bargained. The source said players want to avoid COVID-19 tests and quarantining during OTAs. They want the freedom to move and travel without restrictions, and to make it to the finish line healthy again.
Therefore, they’re pushing for no OTAs and minicamp, and for reporting to training camp in late July or early August like they did last year.
“The data overwhelmingly shows that perhaps the most dangerous place to be, if you’re a veteran player, is in an offseason program,’’ NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on a conference call with NFL beat writers last week.
As Tretter pointed out in a column on the NFLPA website and on the media call, the 2020 protocol enabled the league to successfully complete the season — with 23% fewer missed-time injuries and 30% fewer concussions.
“Over the past five years,…