Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns players will not report to voluntary offseason NFL workouts unless the league institutes COVID-19 protocols. Players from both teams released statements through the NLPA on Thursday announcing their decisions.
The Bears' statement noted players are unclear on COVID-19 protocols, and want to remain safe during the offseason. The team also stated that a "fully virtual offseason" led to injuries being down in 2020.
Browns players said they did not think the NFL's current COVID-19 protocols were adequate. They also cited feeling "healthier both mentally and physically last year" as reasons to hold virtual workouts instead of in-person workouts.
Thursday night, players from both the New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders made similar announcements.
On Friday, the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers joined in.
Nearly every statement mentions players were healthier last season, when teams held fully virtual offseasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bears, Browns players join growing list in NFL
Bears and Browns players are far from the first groups of players to issue statements about in-person workouts. Denver Broncos players were the first to issue a statement through the NFLPA on Tuesday. Players from the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quickly followed the Broncos' lead.
After moving to a full virtual offseason last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is hoping to hold a regular in-person offseason in 2021. Prior to 2020, NFL teams typically met both before and after the NFL draft to hold voluntary workouts. With the draft — which takes place April 29 — quickly approaching, players were running out of time to stand united against in-person workouts.
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