All trends start somewhere. Someone has to break the ice. Tuesday the Broncos players may have started one. They came together to collectively refuse in-person attendance in voluntary workouts, according to an NFL Players Association release.
A statement on behalf of the Denver Broncos players: pic.twitter.com/b7ZQZ1Z7PY
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 13, 2021
The statement notes that offseason programs are scheduled to start this week while the pandemic is still raging and the players are concerned about adequate protocols.
Being that these offseason workouts are voluntary, it shouldn’t require all the players to refuse to attend, but as we all know, the word “voluntary” doesn’t really mean that for most players. Fringe players know they show up or they are replaced. And even the players more assured of a roster spot know not attending is frowned upon. So, it’s common to have full attendance at OTA’s, if only to avoid getting singled out and receiving criticism from the team, the media, and the fans.
Offseason workouts don’t become mandatory until minicamp in June. Whether this stance to not attend voluntary workouts will continue throughout OTA’s in May remains to be seen as the COVID situation remains fluid. But it’s clear all pre-draft workouts are off the table. Those usually just consist of weight training and injury rehab. On-field work and walk-thru’s don’t happen until OTA’s.
With one NFL team taking this stance, it stands to reason other teams will as well. So, even with Mike Mayock recently stating he was expecting offseason workouts to go off as scheduled, that’s the NFL’s plan, and there are two sides to this. The players may feel differently and they have a say so long as these workouts are technically voluntary.