NFL Players Association president JC Tretter is pushing for the NFL to eliminate the traditional offseason program, including minicamp and organized team activities, to better players’ health.
“I believe the changes implemented this season have demonstrated that we can put an entertaining product out on the field while further reducing wear and tear on our players’ bodies,” the Browns center wrote Thursday on the NFLPA website. “There is no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league was forced to suspend its offseason and hold virtual team meetings instead. Instead of an injury-ridden season, Tretter points out, “our collective level of play across the league has actually never been higher.”
“We are the only major sports league with an offseason program. The most physically demanding sport is the only league that brings their players back for extra practices outside of the season,” Tretter wrote. “The argument in favor of these offseason practices is based on the assumption that players need reps during OTAs to develop and learn while teams need the practices to gel. Yet, the lack of OTAs this year demonstrated that those theories aren’t substantiated. New and first-year head coaches had success. Newly assembled teams had success. Rookies stepped in and played at a high level all across the league.
“… We do not need to be brought in during April-June to practice against each other — it’s simply unnecessary.”