Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


‘Many’ 49ers players join those choosing to skip voluntary in-person workouts

Apr 17, 2021 at 11:37 AM--


The NFL recently announced a restructured offseason schedule that won't see players take part in in-person team activities until after May 17. Even after that, any on-field work will be restricted to no-contact drills. Everything until then will be conducted virtually.

Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Las Vegas Raiders players have banded together and announced via NFL Players Association (NFLPA) statements that they will forgo in-person workouts due to continued concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Add "many" of the San Francisco 49ers to the list.

Update: Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints players have also made similar statements.

"We have all seen the impact of the pandemic on our team and our community," read the latest NFLPA statement on behalf of the Niners players. "Last year, the virtual offseason kept us safe in an uncertain environment while allowing us to work together as a team. The fight against COVID-19 is still ongoing and case numbers are still concerning. We are apprehensive about taking avoidable risks in the spring as we prepare to perform at the highest level in the fall. Given these considerations, many in our locker room have chosen not to attend some or all phases of the voluntary in-person workouts.

"At the same time, we all remain dedicated to our club, our teammates, and our community. Those of us who prepare elsewhere will hold ourselves to our club's high standards. We stand in solidarity with all players across the league and trust that they will each make the best decision for themselves and their families."


The NFLPA would prefer the offseason program be conducted much like last year's, with no in-person activities until training camp in July. That would leave Phases 1 and 2 of the offseason program, including organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamps, to be conducted virtually.

The NFL has been pushing for something that more resembles a normal offseason, with in-person activities taking place sooner.

The NFLPA recently reminded players that these early activities are completely voluntary, and teams cannot require participation.

"It is the recommendation of the NFLPA based on our medical experts' advice that if the voluntary offseason program is in person, players should not attend," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president JC Tretter wrote in a letter to players. "Therefore, as teams host calls to discuss these issues we urge that all players consider their own health and safety, make a personal decision about attending voluntary workouts and take into consideration the unanimous recommendation of the NFLPA COVID committee that we have an entirely virtual offseason."

While the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated last month that he hopes to have NFL stadiums across the league filled with fans during the 2021 season, the league has taken some precautions this offseason. Players and NFL team personnel are not required to be vaccinated, but it is being encouraged. The NFL stated that anyone who refuses vaccination, outside of having "bona fide medical or religious ground," will have restricted access to facilities and won't be allowed to interact with players directly.

However, the NFL has opted to push forward with a live in-person draft after conducting last year's virtually. It is scheduled to begin on April 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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