The NFL had previously expressed their optimism that in-person OTA’s and training camps will take place this spring, Browns’ C & NFLPA president JC Tretter wasn’t in concurrence. J.C. Tretter and the union are urging players to boycott such workouts amid the ongoing pandemic.
Tretter took over the presidency in arguably the toughest offseason in NFL history last year. He stressed upon the fact that even though the NFL is hoping for full capacity stadiums, not much has changed since last season. In 2020, the NFL had mandated that all offseason activity be virtual before the 2020 season.
The NFL and NFLPA have reached agreement on a voluntary offseason program for 2020, starting next Monday, April 20, per sources. The “virtual period” can begin next Monday, April 20, but — this is key — no on-field work until all 32 club facilities can reopen.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 13, 2020
How are McVay and the @RamsNFL navigating a virtual offseason?
— NFL (@NFL) May 8, 2020
JC Tretter reinforced his discontentment with an in-person offseason due to the 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 had organised an all-player conference call this past Friday to inform players that they’ll be safer and healthier with a second all-virtual offseason
“The NFL doesn’t get to decide when the pandemic is over or when we get to stop caring about COVID,’’ Tretter said. “COVID is still out there. Our players do not want to catch it still. There are plenty of guys who have talked about issues that they felt for a long time after catching COVID. Myles [Garrett] being one of them. He talked about it all year, about how he felt that it was still bothering him.
NFLPA President JC Tretter told players on a call today the union is pushing for an all-virtual offseason — and would urge players to boycott if teams conduct in-person OTAs this spring, per sources.
Said Tretter: “We’ve been telling them, it’s voluntary and we’re not gonna go.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 9, 2021
JC Tretter also spoke about the additional advantages of a virtual offseason
Tretter also added that there were multiple other advantages to virtual off-seasons apart from the obvious. He said that in the previous 5 seasons, an average of 247 concussions were reported, which fell multi-fold to 172. “If we’ve identified strategies for reducing concussions by 30% and it doesn’t involve modifying game rules, it would be reckless NOT to implement those changes,’’
“Over the past five years, the average number of missed-time injuries annually for all NFL teams was 3,524,” Tretter wrote in his column. “For the 2020 season, the number of missed time injuries decreased to 2,716.” A 23% decrease is huge for a sport that is so heavily based on physical contact.
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
“Last year, [everything] had to be collectively bargained, and now we see what those changes brought us. There’s really no denying it anymore. You can avoid soft tissue injuries. You can avoid concussions. You can avoid heat-related illness. You can avoid those things by following the science.’’
The COVID-19 virus is still as harmful as ever and is affecting people and the sports world. Thus, the NFLPA’s push to avoid in-person workouts would be very responsible. Hopefully, a deal can be struck between the NFLPA and the NFL before the off-season officially starts on April 19th.