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

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2021

Tennessee Titans players gather before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The NFLPA released a statement on behalf of Tennessee Titans players Tuesday, saying they have chosen not to participate in the league's voluntary offseason workout program.

NFLPA @NFLPA

A statement from the Tennessee Titans players: https://t.co/uB1ecuCadV

Twenty-one NFL teams have formally announced they will not be attending the workouts, as the union collectively pushes back on the NFL's offseason program. The NFLPA has sought an all-virtual offseason, similar to 2020, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall health of players. 

According to NFLPA president JC Tretter, third-party data showed there was no negative difference in play caused by last year's virtual program and indicated that the long-term health of players could be better if they avoid hits during the offseason.     

"Our process is to follow the science on what is safest for our guys, and many of the changes this past year—like no in-person offseason workouts/practices, the extended acclimation period before training camp and no preseason games—gave us a year of data that demonstrates maintaining some of these changes long-term is in the best interest of the game," Tretter wrote in March.

The NFLPA's collective push for a virtual offseason coincides with the league voting to add a 17th regular-season game. Several stars have spoken out against adding a week to the regular season over the last year. The expansion was the largest point of contention in NFLPA voting to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement in 2020, and players continued voicing their displeasure after ownership voted on expansion.

Player safety has been the largest concern among players who have criticized regular-season expansion.

It would seem this collective spurning of offseason workouts, which in previous years were "voluntary" in name only, is an attempt by the labor force to exert some level of power. Players are not, by rule, required to report to their teams until mandatory minicamps begin in June. The NFL is the only major professional sports league that has mandatory offseason team activities before training camp/spring training.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that players who receive offseason workout bonuses will not be pressured into boycotting. A significant portion of the rosters for the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars have contractual bonuses tied to voluntary workouts.