On Wednesday morning, Detroit Lions players announced via a formal statement from the NFL Players Association that they will not be attending voluntary offseason workouts, which were scheduled to start on Monday, April 19.
“With the voluntary workout period starting shortly and no acceptable resolution to our union’s negotiations with the NFL over comprehensive COVID-19 protocols, we will be exercising our CBA right to not attend voluntary workouts,” the statement said.
“We know our home state of Michigan continues to get hit hard by the pandemic and based on the continuing guidance of medical experts, it is in everyone’s best interest to play it safe again this offseason. Players on our team are proud to support other players across the league in making an informed decision about their heath and safety, guided by the facts and support from our union.”
The NFL is continuing to push for in-person workouts this offseason, hoping for a return to normalcy but with COVID protocols in place, including encouraging players and staff to get the vaccine. However, the NFLPA has encouraged players through a letter to skip out of voluntary workouts due to spikes in COVID cases around the country and ongoing negotiations with the NFL.
It’s an unfortunate situation for the Lions, who during a normal offseason would have already started workouts because the NFL has rules that give teams with a new head coach an early start on the offseason. However, player safety and health comes first.