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

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2021

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 27: A Denver Broncos helmet sits on the bench before the start of the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

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.


A statement on behalf of the Denver Broncos players: pic.twitter.com/b7ZQZ1Z7PY

"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:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

From NFLPA executive director De Smith and union president J.C Tretter to their players just now, continuing to advocate for an all-virtual offseason program. pic.twitter.com/Q1ozPe9liT

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

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.

Geoff Schwartz @geoffschwartz

One more comment re:Broncos not showing up for offseason workouts...<br>I'd bet players who have workout bonuses show up in whatever capacity they can. They going to forfeit 6 figures in a bonus? Hell no

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.

Jason_OTC @Jason_OTC

Teams with the most players with workout bonuses<br><br>Bills- 28<br>Chiefs- 25<br>Jaguars- 24<br>Packers- 19<br>Dolphins- 13<br>Bears- 11<br>Vikings- 11<br>Patriots- 10<br>Raiders- 9<br>Bengals-8<br>Giants- 8<br><br>Wash., Cowboys and Texans have a lot of base salaries tied to workout participation. Id guess every vet

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." 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

In a memo sent to teams today, the NFL is encouraging players and personnel to get vaccinated. Team facilities were safest place to be in the community. NFL believes it will make it even safer and help return to normalcy - no testing, won’t have to wear a mask or tracking device. pic.twitter.com/DTsOlRmgDk

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.