An NFL memo circulated this week informing teams to prepare for in-person offseason programs to return this year. The league indicated meetings will likely remain virtual for the foreseeable future, but this year’s offseason workouts are not expected to be fully virtual like they were in 2020, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.
As of now, teams can schedule onsite OTAs to begin April 19. This is, however, contingent on no offseason plan being agreed to between the NFL and NFLPA. The union has offered pushback to an onsite offseason returning this year, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reporting little progress has been made between the sides on this front.
The NFLPA’s medical staff believes a second virtual offseason should be in the cards, Florio adds, with COVID-19 still affecting the country. The NFL will not mandate players be vaccinated but will encourage them to do so. If teams reach a certain level of vaccination — among players and staff — COVID-related restrictions will be loosened, Pelissero notes.
Setting aside coronavirus issues, it would benefit rookies to be able to work with teams onsite and even second-year players that did not have that opportunity last year. The NFL implemented daily COVID testing before training camps in 2020, and although the league would plan to amend virus protocols based on teams’ vaccination rate, the memo informed franchises to acquire sufficient testing supplies by April 19. A resolution on the offseason format should be expected before that date.