CLEVELAND — Joining six other teams around the National Football League, the Cleveland Browns players announced Thursday that they will not participate in this offseason's voluntary in-person workouts.
In a statement released by the National Football League Players Association, Browns players addressed the NFL's memo on plans to conduct the voluntary workouts this offseason, saying the plan "falls short of what we as players believe is adequate."
The plan includes nine weeks of offseason work, all voluntary except for one mandatory mini-camp included in the third phase from May 24 to June 18.
Here’s an overview of the 2021 offseason program pic.twitter.com/idMebiqtmQ— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) April 14, 2021
The players collectively said that in addition to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland players have chosen this path to benefit their health and wellness heading into the 2021 season.
"We felt healthier both mentally and physically last year, which we attribute to sufficient recovery time and the lack of additional wear and tear on our bodies during the spring months," the statement said.
The statement cited NFL data showing a 23% reduction in missed-time injuries around the league last season.
"For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with players from other clubs by exercising our right to not attend in-person voluntary workouts this offseason," the statement said. "We are professionals who train year-round wherever we spend our offseason. As we proved last year, we will be ready to compete this upcoming season."
The Browns join the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, many New England Patriots players, and the majority of the Chicago Bears in opting to not attend in-person voluntary workouts.
Browns center and NFLPA President JC Tretter has led the charge for the change to offseason programs and workouts, publishing a column highlighting injury data and outlining why change is not only acceptable but encouraged by the NFLPA.
Here is the full statement issued by Browns players Thursday:
A statement from the Cleveland Browns players: pic.twitter.com/VI71lJXWeA— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 15, 2021
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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