Broncos Players Announce They Won't Participate in Voluntary Offseason Workouts

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2021

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Members of the Denver Broncos issued a statement Tuesday through the NFL Players Association announcing they won't take part in in-person voluntary offseason workouts.

"COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and to our communities, and it makes no sense for us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period," the players said. "Positivity rates in our city are higher than they were at this time last year and we know players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks."

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, players from the Seattle Seahawks "will be issuing a similar statement through the union."

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo shared a statement from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and union president JC Tretter, who advocated for the NFL to adopt a similar offseason program as 2020:

According to The Athletic's Lindsay Jones, the Broncos made their decision following a Monday night call "led by" Brandon McManus and Justin Simmons.

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Jones noted Von Miller and Drew Lock are among four players with workout bonuses in their contracts, and they'll have the flexibility to attend voluntary workouts.

The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran reported more teams are expected to follow Denver's lead. Not every squad has so few players with those kinds of bonuses written into their contracts, though.

Voluntary workouts can begin as early as Monday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter shared a memo from the NFL on Tuesday regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. The league suggested teams should use their stadiums or practice facilities as vaccination sites and outlined that "Tier 1 and 2 employees (other than players) should be expected to be vaccinated unless they have a bona fide medical or religious ground for not doing so." 

The NFL also stated teams that "reach a certain threshold" of vaccinations could have COVID-19 health and safety protocols relaxed.

That would be a significant contrast from the 2020 offseason, when in-person contact was extremely limited prior to training camps. And even when players returned to their team facilities, they still had to follow masking and social distancing guidelines.