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NFLPA president JC Tretter says most Browns players still plan to skip voluntary OTAs

May
18
5/18/2021 12:20:27 PM
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With Phase II of the offseason program kicking off on Monday, Browns center JC Tretter reminded everyone why Browns’ players and those from about 20 other NFL teams have opted to skip voluntary in-person OTAs, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“Last year was the first time most players got to experience not attending in-person offseason programming,’' Tretter wrote on the NFLPA website. “For many, it was eye-opening. Players felt better, physically and mentally, and the injury data supports those anecdotes. Now, as we stare down the start of the 2021 season, players are realizing they do actually have a choice in how they prepare for the season -- and that the voluntary offseason program truly is voluntary.’'

“OTAs have been out of hand for a long time,” Tretter told Albert Breer of MMQB. “They’re full speed, full contact, nonpadded practices, and guys are getting beat up in them.”

He noted that players have to work out home, because the offseason program comprises only nine of the 29 weeks between the end of the season and training camp.

“You’re tasked with working out year-round,’' he said. “And guys have always felt teams have their back when they’re training, working out for the season. So players are watching this closely to see which teams aren’t going to have players’ backs. And doing this also disincentivizes guys working out. If you’re going to hold this over my head, and I don’t want to get hurt, well, then I’ll play myself into shape, and protect myself and my money.”

He lauded the players for banding together to take a stand against the voluntary sessions. What’s more, they’ll try to collectively bargain the mandatory minicamp off the books too. The Browns’ is scheduled for June 15-17.

“Players are now viewing the offseason the way our union intended,’' Tretter wrote. “Each individual player has the right to decide: ‘Is my team’s program a valuable enough experience to me that it’s worth volunteering my off time to participate?’ Considering the CBA-defined offseason, the majority of players answered that question with a resounding “no.”

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