Buccaneers players say they won’t show up to voluntary workouts without COVID protocols


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady during an NFL football training camp practice Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

TAMPA (WFLA/AP) – NFL players were locked out of team headquarters last offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, their union wants them to boycott any in-person OTAs.

Members of the Buccaneers, Broncos, and Seahawks said Tuesday they’ll do just that.

“We find ourselves still in the midst of a pandemic with no comprehensive plan to keep players as safe as possible, yet teams are pressuring players to attend voluntary workouts,” that begin next week, tweeted DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association.

“The union has advised players that given the continued risk of exposure and the goal of a full 2021 NFL season, that they should not attend these voluntary workouts,” Smith added. “It is every player’s decision, but our advice is to continue to use an abundance of caution given the current environment.”

Multiple Buccaneers players were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list in 2020 including Ronald Jones, Vita Vea, Ryan Succop, as well as an assistant coach.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy countered that “NFL team facilities are the safest places in our communities thanks to our comprehensive protocols that were developed in conjunction with the NFLPA and public health officials.”

McCarthy said the league and players union are continuing talks about holding safe offseason programs.

Except for one minicamp, the offseason programs are voluntary, although most players participate in them and many players have contractual incentives to do so.

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