CLEVELAND – Following the guidance and advice of Browns center and NFL Players Association President JC Tretter, Cleveland’s players joined a growing list of teams vowing to skip voluntary in-person workouts this offseason.
The Browns followed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and New York Giants in saying they’ll exercise their collectively bargained rights not to take part in the workouts, which were scheduled to begin next week.
The Las Vegas Raiders followed suit later Thursday with their players releasing a statement through the NFLPA that they also wouldn't participate in the voluntary offseason program.
On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transitioning to in person at the team's respective training facilities.
Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Browns players released a statement through the NFLPA saying they are opposed to the idea.
“The NFL’s memo outlining how they plan to implement voluntary workouts falls short of what we as players believe is adequate,” the statement said. “The Cleveland Browns players agree that a virtual offseason, like we had last year, is the best decision for everyone in our league.
“COVID-19 continues to affect our players, our families and our communities, and we must continue to take it seriously. In addition to the ongoing threat of the pandemic, we felt healthier both mentally and physically last year, which we attribute to sufficient recovery time and the lack of additional wear and tear on our bodies during the spring months. The league-wide injury data supports us as well, as NFL players experienced a 23% reduction in missed-time injuries last season.