Seahawks Players Opt out of Voluntary Offseason Workouts, Citing COVID-19

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2021

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson jogs off the field during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. The Rams won 30-20. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks became the second team on Tuesday to see its players unanimously choose to skip this offseason's voluntary workouts because of ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, joining the Denver Broncos.

Seattle's players released the following statement through the NFLPA:


A statement on behalf of the Seattle Seahawks players: https://t.co/4Bwl4KkEOI

Earlier on Tuesday, the Broncos' players released a similar statement:


A statement on behalf of the Denver Broncos players: https://t.co/b7ZQZ1Z7PY

Additionally, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president JC Tretter recommended that players skip voluntary workouts this season, perhaps opening the door for more teams to follow the lead set by Denver and Seattle's players:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Offseason programs are scheduled to begin Monday. JC Tretter told players on a call last week the NFL's last proposal was to have the first two weeks be virtual, then start in-person. The union wants everything prior to training camp to be virtual, including mandatory minicamp.

An all-virtual offseason wouldn't be unprecedented—it was the approach the league took last season after the coronavirus pandemic began.

But the NFL appears to be pushing forward with in-person workouts and minicamps, all but mandating coronavirus vaccines for coaches and non-player personnel on Tuesday:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL and NFLPA have said COVID vaccines won’t be required for players. But this memo effectively mandates it for coaches, among others, since they’re all Tier 1. Directing clubs to set up vaccination sites for staff, players and eligible family members is latest strong push. https://t.co/BKkly32Qkb

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Discussions continue between the NFL and NFLPA about what form offseason programs will take, with scheduled Monday start. Union wants all-virtual and has urged players to boycott otherwise. Everything prior to training camp is voluntary, other than one mandatory minicamp in June.

One thing that will be interesting to monitor, should the NFLPA get its way on a virtual offseason, will be injuries suffered away from team facilities. 

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

Another rule to keep in mind: injuries away from the team facility are considered “non-football” and can cause players to lose salary if they extend into regular season. Injuries at facilities are protected.

Suffice to say, the complications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, like the pandemic itself, aren't going away anytime soon, especially if more players follow in the footsteps of those from the Broncos and Seahawks.