Opting Out in the Offseason

The Bears became one of the many teams to opt out of the voluntary offseason work according to an NFLPA memo

The Bears have joined the growing list of NFL teams whose players are choosing to stay safe if there's nothing in it for them.

The NFL Players Association issued a statement on behalf of the Bears saying "the majority of our locker room" has chosen to not take part in voluntary workouts in order to remain safey as possible:

"COVID-19 remains a risk both to our team, our families and to our fellow NFL players. We also saw the health and safety benefits of a fully virtual offseason, as injuries across the NFL were down last year. Players remain unclear about the protocols and protections, and rules remain inconsistent despite the last minute communication by the NFL yesterday. It is for these reasons that the majority of our locker room are choosing to exercise our right and not participate in in-person voluntary workouts in order to stay as safe as possible."

The "majority" leaves open the possibility that some of the Bears players will be taking part in the voluntary offseason conditioning program.

The Bears and then Cleveland made these statements, bringing to seven the total number of teams with players choosing against the voluntary work.

 READ: The NFL finally clarified its offseason work plan for players, for what it's worth

The offseason voluntary work was scheduled to begin on April 19. However, the first phase of it was going to include virtual meetings with no on-field work, anyway.

The second phase was to include on-field drills May 17-21 with vitrual meetings continuing.

Rookie minicamps normally occur within the two weeks following the draft and a statement issued by the league earlier in the week said those will occur as they normally would.

The on-field work, or organized team activities, was always perceived as vital for getting new players caught up in the offensive or defensive systems.

Quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive end Angelo Blackson, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, guard/tackle Elijah Wilkinson, running back Damien Williams, cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Christian Jones have all signed on with the Bears since the start of free agency.

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