The Chicago Bears on Thursday joined players from a number of other NFL teams to say that “the majority of our locker room” won’t be reporting to team facilities next week to begin voluntary offseason workouts.
“Players remain unclear about the [COVID-19] protocols and protections, and rules remain inconsistent despite the last minute communication by the NFL [on Wednesday],” players from the Bears said in a statement released by the NFLPA. “It is for these reasons that the majority of our locker room are choosing to exercise our right and not participate in in-person voluntary workouts in order to stay as safe as possible.”
The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday announced their intentions to skip the workouts, while the Detroit Lions and “some of us” from the New England Patriots joined them in making the decision on Wednesday.
Offseason programs are scheduled to begin April 19 leaguewide, at which point daily testing for players and staff will commence, according to a memo sent to teams on March 31. Players who are currently using the weight room at team facilities or being treated by club medical staff have to be tested, at minimum, every other day. Teams can test more if they wish, but that is the minimum requirement.
On Wednesday, players from the Lions, in a statement released by the NFLPA, said “it is in everyone’s best interests to play it safe again this season” after “no acceptable resolution to our union’s negotiations with the NFL over comprehensive COVID-19 protocols.”