NFL sets offseason schedule, still plans mandatory minicamps
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has set its schedule for offseason workouts and still plans to have mandatory in-person minicamps, something the players’ union has opposed.
The league released the schedule through mid-June, with all 32 teams listing required-attendance minicamps next month. NFLPA President JC Tretter, a center for the Browns, has been vocal in his opposition to any programs requiring players to be on hand, stressing a preference for virtual work similar to 2020.
In a release Thursday, the NFL said: “Voluntary offseason workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players.” All of those sessions were held remotely last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The union wants to replicate that not just for 2021 but beyond.
The offseason programs include three phases. The first began April 19 and concludes May 14. It was extended from its customary two-week period. Activities are limited to strength and conditioning, virtual meetings, and physical rehab.
In the second phase (May 17-21), which has been shortened from three weeks to one, on-field walk-throughs can include individual player instruction and drills that don’t include contact.
Phase three (May 24-June 18) remains its customary four weeks and could be the source of conflict between the league and union. This phase allows in-person meetings and classroom instruction, subject to COVID-19 testing, tracking, facility access and other protocols. Ten days of organized team activities (OTAs) allow no live contact, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
Most minicamps are scheduled toward the end of this phase.
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