NFLPA Chief Fires Back At Bruce Arians

April 15th, 2021

As we all know, at least while Joe is typing this here article, Bucs players are planning to boycott voluntary spring offseason workouts, publicly stating the move is to avoid risk of players coming down with The Sickness.

Joe will have more about that in a moment.

Bucs players are one of four teams that have taken the NFLPA’s advice to boycott voluntary workouts. The others are the Broncos, Lions and Seahawks.

Earlier this spring, Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians railed against the lack of workouts for younger players. Missing so much time and as a consequence missing so many snaps of practice stunts their development, he said. Joe fully gets what Arians said, but his stance is weakened when one watches replays of the Bucs’ postseason, which featured two rookie starters making significant plays and producing to help the Bucs win their second Super Bowl.

In short, Arians believes a boycott is a veiled stunt to stunt the growth of young players and/or rookies in order to save the jobs of higher-salaried veterans.

In an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, NFLPA president and Browns center JC Tretter was asked point-blank about Arians’ words. Tretter gave a wishy-washy answer that didn’t exactly say Arians’ belief is off base, documents the creator, curator and overall guru of Pro Football Talk, the great Mike Florio.

“My job and our job is to know what our players want,” Tretter told Eisen. “And this is what our players want. And we surveyed our players, and the vast majority of our players think the virtual offseason is the best for this year. And that wasn’t just the veterans saying that. Just as many young guys, just as many guys with one year of experience, two years of experience, three years of experience responded saying that they think the virtual offseason is the best thing for them this year as the older guys did.

“So that’s a narrative that just doesn’t have any factor or proof to it. It’s just used to try to divide the union. But we know what we want. We have players talk and we as a union are in charge of representing what all players want, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Of course, you cannot prove — short of secret wiretaps — that the NFLPA is trying to save jobs by squeezing out younger, cheaper players and/or rookies. You also cannot deny that’s a likely result, intentional or not.

Tretter did have other remarks that Joe thought were fair regarding the players boycotting voluntary workouts.

Tretter said that no matter how safe NFL facilities may be, as evidenced by last season, spring workouts are a different animal. Tretter explained players are coming back and forth from different areas of the country to attend these workouts, whereas in-season the players pretty much stay in the same town if not stay in their in-season homes.

As far as vaccinations, Tretter noted that he just had his first shot. So the widespread availability of the vaccine and coming to spring workouts fully vaccinated are two different timelines for players. Tretter noted many players won’t be fully vaccinated by the time the voluntary workouts begin.

For those not yet vaccinated or who refuse to be vaccinated, the two shots of the two most popular vaccines must be administered three weeks apart. And it usually takes roughly two weeks after the second shot for the full vaccine effect to kick in.

So with mandatory minicamps held at the end of May, there is a sufficient timeline for players to get the first shot now and be fully vaccinated by the opening of minicamps — if a player chooses to get vaccinated.

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