NFL Players Association president JC Tretter is calling for the elimination of offseason practices, including minicamp and organized team activities.
“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,” the Cleveland Browns center wrote in a newsletter released Thursday. “There is no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program.”
The coronavirus pandemic eliminated the NFL offseason program this year, as teams leaned on virtual meetings instead.
“We are the only major sports league with an offseason program. The most physically demanding sport is the only league that brings their players back for extra practices outside of the season,” Tretter wrote. “The argument in favor of these offseason practices is based on the assumption that players need reps during OTAs to develop and learn while teams need the practices to gel. Yet, the lack of OTAs this year demonstrated that those theories aren’t substantiated. New and first-year head coaches had success. Newly assembled teams had success. Rookies stepped in and played at a high level all across the league.
“… We do not need to be brought in during April-June to practice against each other — it’s simply unnecessary.”
Tretter, who has been instrumental in establishing COVID-19 protocols within the league, including daily testing, in his first year as NFLPA president, has also called for the elimination of turf fields.
Tretter wrote in his latest newsletter that the union “would continue to challenge preconceived notions about how football must be run in order to optimize player health.”