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NFL changes offseason workout plans after pushback from NFLPA

The league is hoping teams can begin holding on-field workouts beginning on May 17.

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

After the NFLPA sent out a memo to its members recommending they don’t attend voluntary offseason workouts, the league has made changes to its plans.

The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says the revised plan is to extend the first phase of the offseason workout program to four weeks, with on-field training beginning on May 17.

The change comes after players from the Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks released statements saying they’re uncomfortable conducting in-person workouts due to the pandemic. Players from the San Francisco 49ers did not speak out against the league’s plans.

Under the league’s revised proposal, everything will be conducted virtually until May 17, but players will have the option to use the weight room at the team’s facility for individual workouts.

The first week of on-field workouts will consist of non-contact training drills. Following that, teams can organize 10 activity days which will conclude with a mandatory minicamp.

This comes after NFLPA president JC Tretter said the hope was that organizations would hold OTAs and minicamp virtually before players report for training camp. The league countered with the idea that the first two weeks of offseason workouts be held online before teams can conduct in-person activities.

But, Tretter and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith responded that the NFL’s proposal isn’t enough.

“It is the recommendation of the NFLPA based on our medical experts’ advice that if the voluntary offseason program is in person, players should not attend,” Smith and Tretter said in their letter to players. “Therefore, as teams host calls to discuss these issues we urge that all players consider their own health and safety, make a personal decision about attending voluntary workouts and take into consideration the unanimous recommendation of the NFLPA COVID committee that we have an entirely virtual offseason.”

Getting some extra on-field time will be hugely beneficial for the Niners. They hold the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and unless something extreme transpires, the 49ers will be selecting a quarterback.

Allowing one of Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones the opportunity to spend more time in-person with coaches will help the prospect’s development going into next season.

The NFLPA will have to agree to the new proposal before the league can make the changes official. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is hopeful stadiums will be at full capacity for Week 1 of the 2021 campaign.