Saints players plan to skip voluntary in-person workouts

John Sigler
·2 min read

Add the Saints players to the growing number of NFL rosters that don’t intend to participate in on-site practices ahead of training camp (for the folks keeping score at home, we’re now up to 17 teams). With COVID-19 concerns still on everyone’s radar and the relative success of a partially-virtual 2020 offseason informing their decision, New Orleans’ pros have made it clear they won’t show the usual high attendance for early-summer organized team activities.

The NFL Players Association released a statement on their behalf, writing:

“We stand in solidarity with our fellow NFL players across the league to call on a fully virtual offseason. By now, the benefits to our health and safety are well known, with significant reductions to concussions, missed time injuries and soft tissue recovery. We came together as a team and we will not be attending in-person voluntary workouts.

“We know the importance of preparation in the offseason and as professions, we are always preparing our minds and bodies to play the game we love.”

This lines up with similar statements from rosters around the NFL, though we’ll have to wait and see whether everyone is in lockstep on this issue. It’s hardly been a unanimous decision for other teams and some players plan to show up and work with their coaches despite the stated boycott. It benefits veteran players to stay home and work out away from the facility, but their younger teammates with less time logged at the facility might see this as an opportunity to get an early edge with starting jobs up for grabs.

As it specifically pertains to the Saints: few players on the roster have workout bonuses written into their contracts, so there isn’t much incentive from that angle for them to show up. On the other hand, New Orleans is introducing many new coaches this offseason and they could really use the time to begin teaching their players and getting to know them better. That time can be made up later this summer once teams convene for training camp, sure. Let’s just hope the Saints and every other team can avoid a sloppy start to the season so we don’t have to look back on this critically.

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