NFLPA tells players to stay away from facilities due to COVID concerns

NFLPA tells players to stay away from facilities due to COVID concerns

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With the number of Americans fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19 increasing every day, it can seem like things are getting back to normal everywhere. But the roughly 2,000 NFL players are bracing for another virtual offseason due to coronavirus concerns.
On Tuesday, the players’ union recommended players from all 32 teams not to attend their club’s voluntary training, most of which is expected to start on Monday.

As reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the memo sent by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and union president JC Tretter paints a picture of league facilities that are in fact worse off than at this time last year, when the outbreak the number of viruses has effectively terminated much of US business sectors and forced citizens to be quarantined

The letter reads, in part:

“As we made clear throughout the negotiations, the COVID status in the country is as perilous as it was at this point last year; a number of players have recently tested positive at team facilities; Positive weekly COVID rates are as high, if not higher, than at this point in the last offseason; and NFL players who contracted COVID last season may be infected again.

More worryingly, the letter goes on to say that a second consecutive virtual offseason schedule “gives us the best chance of completing a full NFL season in 2021.”

Pelissero reported earlier that the Denver Broncos have become the first team to announce that they will boycott their team’s voluntary in-person training. The Seattle Seahawks followed suit, as did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But the Cowboys actually lead the league in in-person training at the facility so far this offseason, with 25 players having made an appearance at The Star in Frisco, according to a Pelissero source.

Quarterback Dak Prescott set up a home training ground last offseason; several of his Cowboys teammates made appearances and participated in backyard grill passing drills with The Star Off Bounds.

Despite the precautions, running back Ezekiel Elliott was diagnosed with COVID-19 last June. Quarterback Andy Dalton missed time during the season due to complications from COVID while recovering from a concussion. Defensive tackle Walter Palmore has tested positive this season, as has a third player as recently as Jan. 1.

News of the union’s recommendation that players stay away from their team’s facilities comes the same day the league informed clubs that Level 1 and 2 employees “should be vaccinated unless they are have a good faith medical or religious reason for not doing so. . “No vaccine, no access to restricted” football only “areas of team facilities and no work in the immediate vicinity of players.

This mandate specifically excludes the players themselves, but it does bring out the heightened state of vigilance in which the league operates just days before the start of off-season programs.

The league has previously announced expectations that there will be fans in the stands in 2021, but for the second year in a row, there is a sudden question – at least among the leaders of the players’ union – if there will be any teams on. field.

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