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J.C. Tretter holds two roles in the NFL: Starting offensive lineman and NFL Players Association president. For the Cleveland Browns, those roles rarely overlap but current issues around offseason activities could cause some conflict.
The NFLPA has begun to push for less and less offseason activities following the COVID-19 adjusted offseason of 2020.
The Browns just completed their rookie minicamp and, according to the team’s website, Phase 2 opening up today through the 21st with limited on-field practice activities. Phase 3 includes up to 10 offseason training activities and mandatory veteran minicamp.
As the Browns site noted, at one point Browns players were unlikely to participate:
In a statement released last week through the NFL Players Association, Browns players, like many others across the league, indicated they would not participate in any of this year’s voluntary, in-person workouts.
Tretter came out strong via the NFLPA’s site attempting to give the players’ side:
Meanwhile, the intensity of OTAs has continued to be ratcheted up. What used to be seen as a time for teaching has turned into full-speed, non-padded practices that are injuring players unnecessarily. There is no reason a player should get injured, beat up or have a concussion during the offseason. The offseason should be a time of recovery and individual preparation so that players can show up for training camp physically and mentally eager to get to work with their teammates.
Tretter also noted the media’s role in how players are viewed who do not attend these voluntary activities:
For the small number of players who choose not to volunteer their time, the media write articles questioning whether they are a team player or some kind of locker room problem. It’s easy to see why many players feel like they have no choice but to attend.
The NFLPA’s stance and push for players to skip these voluntary activities came under scrutiny when two Denver Broncos players were hurt while working out outside of the team’s facilities. Ja’Wuan James was cut, losing out on millions of dollars, while DaeSean Hamilton will likely miss the entire season and could also be waived by the team.
Tretter has made his stance, and the stance of the NFLPA, very clear today.