'Many' 49ers will not participate in voluntary on-field workouts

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Matt Maiocco
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'Many' 49ers plan to forego voluntary on-field workouts originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers joined the growing list of NFL teams to announce its players will not fully participate in the league’s voluntary in-person workout program this offseason.

"The fight against COVID-19 is still ongoing and case numbers are still concerning," the 49ers players said in a statement released Saturday morning. The statement declared that "many in our locker room have chosen not to attend some or all phases of the voluntary in-person workouts."

The announcement was made through the NFL Players Association.

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"At the same time, we all remain dedicated to our club, our teammates, and our community," the 49ers players said.

Previously, the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos announced they will not participate in the in-person voluntary offseason program due to safety concerns.

The New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers announced "many" of their players will not participate in the offseason program, while the Chicago Bears said a "majority" will exercise their rights to not attend the voluntary workouts.

Six players have bonuses tied to participation in the 49ers’ offseason workout program, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($600,000).

Arik Armstead, Jimmie Ward, Laken Tomlinson and George Kittle each have workout bonuses of $100,000 in their contracts, while Raheem Mostert’s workout bonus is $50,000.

In late-December, NFLPA president JC Tretter signaled he believes the NFL offseason workouts are unnecessary.

“This year has brought less time at practice than ever before,” Tretter wrote. “We had no offseason practices, fewer training camp practices and no preseason games. While some feared that those changes would lead to a sloppy 2020 NFL season, our collective level of play across the league has actually never been higher.

“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.”

In the statement from the Dolphins players, a 23-percent reduction in missed time was cited, using league-wide injury data.

But that was not the case for the 49ers, who were decimated by injuries in 2020. Garoppolo, Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Mostert, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Sherman, among others, missed significant game action due to injuries.

On Wednesday, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams that outlined the schedule of the league’s offseason program.

The first phase of the program is scheduled to last four weeks, from April 19 to May 14, and consists of virtual meetings for two hours a day. Coaches are not allowed to direct any on-field drills.

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Newly signed center Alex Mack is the treasurer of the NFLPA's executive committee. Free-agent cornerback Richard Sherman is a vice president. The 49ers' most recent representatives were free-agent Ben Garland and guard Laken Tomlinson.

The second phase is scheduled to run from May 17 to May 21, during which on-field drills are permitted “at coaching speed” with no pads or contact.

And, finally the third phase is scheduled to consist of 10 days of traditional organized team activities at full speed but without contact. This phase also includes the mandatory minicamp.

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