In case you forgot, COVID-19 still exists. It’s still floating around there somewhere. Even as more restrictions are lifted, and more people are vaccinated, we are still aways away from going back to full normal.
This reality is affecting the NFL. Teams are expected to have fans in the stands Week One. The NFL is expecting full capacity this year. But between now and then, players have to work out, teams have to practice, and preseason games and training camps need to take place.
One of the milestones in the march to another NFL season is offseason workouts. Players come to their respective team’s facility and work out with their teammates. Usually when to come or whether to appear at all is up to the player, with high profile veterans often skimping on attendance to work out elsewhere. Yet bonus incentives tied to attendance is often enough of an incentive to get the whole team together again before organized team activities begin.
Recently the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, and Cleveland Browns all voted to skip voluntary workouts. The Houston Texans have decided to join this group.
Sources: Texans' players vote for no in-person voluntary workouts, in solidarity with NFL Players Association, multiple NFL teams pic.twitter.com/NLQb1JsiD2— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 16, 2021
The reasoning is the same as last year. The pandemic is not over. This is necessary to protect player health and safety. With voluntary workouts getting cancelled autonomously by multiple teams, it will be interesting to see which offseason mainstays will follow.