Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Add the Atlanta Falcons to the growing list of NFL teams unlikely to have much player participation during voluntary offseason workouts.
In a statement released through the NFL Players Association, Falcons players said “many” of them won’t participate in the club’s offseason program because of COVID-19 concerns:
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, NFLPA president JC Tretter has told players “the union is pushing for an all-virtual offseason—and would urge players to boycott if teams conduct in-person OTAs this spring.”
Pelissero noted that around only 300 out of 2,500 players in the NFL have workout bonuses attached to their contracts that would be lost if they skip organized team activities.
Each of the teams that has had players opt out of voluntary offseason work has cited concerns about the pandemic, but the NFL and NFL Players Association also failed to reach agreement on protocols for offseason activities.
Per ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the NFL issued a memo to all 32 teams on Wednesday after those failed negotiations with the union. The memo stated the only portion of the offseason that will be mandatory is minicamps in June.
Per Daniel Valentine and Jack Browne of The Score, the Falcons have become the 11th team that have had players announce many or all of them wouldn’t be participating in the voluntary offseason program.