Report: NFL Announces Phases of Offseason Program, Minicamp Remains Mandatory

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The NFL issued a new memo to teams laying out rules for offseason programs, according to ESPN

The league, which made parts of the program voluntary under the collective bargaining agreement, is imposing the rules after failing to reach an agreement with the NFLPA on several issues. 

The NFLPA has pushed for an all-virtual offseason due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The players' union also hopes to send a message to the league that players will stop agreeing to contracts that incorporate bonuses for participating in voluntary offseason workouts. 

Currently, more than 200 players have workouts bonuses requiring them to attend offseason workouts to receive their bonuses. The union is not discouraging those players from attending the workouts. 

The Broncos, Seahawks and Lions are among teams skipping offseason workouts due to COVID-19 concerns.

The league made most of the offseason program voluntary with the exception of mandatory June minicamps, according to ESPN. The first phase of offseason programs—meetings from April 19 to May 14—will be conducted virtually, with no on-field work permitted, the memo says. 

Virtual volunteer meetings will also be held in the second phase from May 17 to May 21. However, on-field drills are permitted according to the normal Phase 2 guidelines. Rookie minicamps, which are annually held during this phase, will take place as normal. 

The 10-day offseason training activities and mandatory minicamps will begin in part three of offseason programs from May 24 to June 18. Meetings in this phase can be conducted virtually or in-person. The number of people allowed in a team's facility will be monitored.

The league will not require players or team staff to receive vaccinations. The NFLPA, however, is drafting a proposal to limit COVID-19 restrictions on players who have been vaccinated and teams with personnel who have reached a certain number of vaccinations. 

Per NFL protocol, players who have received the vaccine will receive less testing, will receive fewer contact tracing restrictions and will obtain more freedom around their team's facility.

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