Steelers, Falcons among teams skipping workouts

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Players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams on Friday became the latest from the NFL to say that they won’t be reporting to team facilities next week to begin voluntary offseason workouts.

The announcements, made via the NFL Players Association, bring the total to 15 teams for which players say they will not be participating in the workouts, which are scheduled to begin Monday leaguewide.

On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transitioning to in person at the team’s respective training facilities. Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We should not be made to compromise our health and safety,” the Steelers said in the statement Friday. “… It makes no sense to risk [COVID-19] infection or injury in the spring if we don’t have to. The protections we had in place last year are not fully in place now and remain unclear.”

In their statement, players from the Falcons said their decision was “not unanimous” but “we respect the decisions of every player across the league and will remain professional in our approach to the game.”

The Chargers players said “many on our team have made the decision not to attend.”

Jets players, meanwhile, said in their statement that they “stand in solidarity with other players across the NFL who are making informed choices about this offseason.”

Rams players, for their part, said they had decided as a team that they will not attend the offseason programs but instead will “continue to strive to improve ourselves and each other where we are.”

These players join those from the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots in making the decision this week.

While Raiders players put out a statement through the NFLPA on Thursday saying they were going to skip the voluntary portion of the offseason workout program, a source confirmed the language contained within the statement allows for those with workout bonuses to participate.

ESPN Stats & Information research shows that nine Raiders players have workout bonuses tied to this year — QB Derek Carr ($100,000), S Jeff Heath ($100,000), TE Darren Waller ($250,000), RB Jalen Richard ($125,000), LBs Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton ($250,000 each), DE Carl Nassib ($250,000), QB Nathan Peterman ($25,000) and OL Denzelle Good ($480,000).

The Raiders rank seventh in the NFL in terms of highest aggregate total of workout bonuses on current contracts at a combined $1.83 million (the Packers have the most at $5.04 million).

ESPN reporters Paul Gutierrez and Lindsey Thiry and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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