Players from the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday joined players from a number of other NFL teams to say they won't be reporting to team facilities next week to begin voluntary offseason workouts.
Offseason programs are scheduled to begin April 19 leaguewide, at which point daily testing for players and staff will commence, according to a memo sent to teams on March 31. Players who are currently using the weight room at team facilities or being treated by club medical staff have to be tested, at minimum, every other day. Teams can test more if they wish, but that is the minimum requirement.
"Players remain unclear about the [COVID-19] protocols and protections, and rules remain inconsistent despite the last minute communication by the NFL [on Wednesday]," players from the Bears said in a statement released by the NFLPA. "It is for these reasons that the majority of our locker room are choosing to exercise our right and not participate in in-person voluntary workouts in order to stay as safe as possible."
A release from Browns players said they "felt healthier both mentally and physically" after having a virtual offseason in 2020. They attributed that to "sufficient recovery time and the lack of additional wear and tear on our bodies during the spring months.
"... We are professionals who train year-round, wherever we spend our offseason. As we proved last year, we will be ready to compete this upcoming season."
Giants players cited their need as "a strong, unified brotherhood of professionals" to "make the best decisions to protect our health and safety."
The Raiders players said in a statement they were not participating "given the data and facts shared by our union about reduced injuries and other health benefits of the virtual off-season last season."
The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday announced their intentions to skip the workouts, while the Detroit Lions and "some of us" from the New England Patriots joined them in making the decision on Wednesday.