Eagles join teams planning to skip in-person workouts

Players for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday became the latest to announce they won’t be attending in-person voluntary workouts.

At least 18 other NFL teams have issued similar statements, according to NBC Sports.

The NFL Players Association released a four-paragraph statement on behalf of Philadelphia’s players:

“We believe in the solidarity of players across the NFL and using our collective voice to stand up for each other and what’s right,” the statement reads. “Our teammates have come together to make a decision as a team as to what is best for us this offseason. We have shared and talked about the facts from our union and our players will not be attending in-person voluntary workouts.

“We know that every player has to make a decision that is best for him, but to stand in solidarity with the brotherhood of players across the NFL, we have decided to come together on this choice.

“The ongoing pandemic is obviously still an issue for our city and our country, and it is unnecessary for us to put ourselves at risk in this environment. We also know what the data shows about our overall health and safety.

“As a team and as professionals, we will hold each other accountable as we always do to stay in shape and get ready for the upcoming season.”

On Saturday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with ESPN that the union supports the players’ right to skip the voluntary offseason workouts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve known for years that this is a voluntary workout where a lot of coaches put their finger on the scale and, while they call it voluntary, they expect players to show up,” Smith said.

“I think that what you’re seeing now is, for the first time, players exercising their voice … to say ‘no.’ And frankly it’s probably one of the few times that coaches have ever heard players say ‘no.’ And for some players, it’s probably the first time they’ve said ‘no’ to their coach.”

The league released its official, universal plan for teams with the offseason beginning officially on Monday with Phase I, which lasts four weeks and prohibits on-field work with coaches.

Training camps are expected to begin the last week of July.

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