The Pittsburgh Steelers made a statement on Friday, both figuratively and literally speaking, regarding the NFL’s plan to move ahead with in-person offseason workouts. Here is what the Steelers’ statement read, via the NFLPA:
“We should not be made to compromise our health and safety,” the statement said. “With the current pandemic still affecting our communities and country, and the lack of clear protocols and protections regarding returning to work at full capacity, the players of the Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to exercise our right to not participate in voluntary in-person activities.
“A virtual offseason helped keep us safe to not only start, but finish the regular season as safely as possible and it makes no sense for us to risk infection or injury in the spring if we don’t have to.”
The Steelers were just one of several teams who decided to opt-out of the voluntary portions of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but even though the team put out that statement didn’t mean the workouts weren’t taking place, and also that no one would show up.
In fact, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers had “a dozen” players show up at the team’s facility for the first phase of OTAs. This first phase is strictly strength and conditioning work with specific members of the Steelers staff. To make the story even better, Dulac cites a team source as saying more players will be showing up Tuesday.
“Even though Steelers players had already stated their intention to not participate in offseason on-field activities, a dozen players showed up at the team’s South Side facility on Monday for strength and conditioning work.
More players are expected tomorrow, according to a team source.”
With the NFLPA trying to get players to avoid these voluntary workouts, they clearly didn’t put much thought into players who have workout incentives built into their contracts, players who are looking to gain experience after a missed preseason in 2020 and the fact the NFL would not protect any player who gets injured while working out away from the team facilities.
It seems as if the Steelers are going to be faced with a group of players who are more concerned about their individual careers, and less about the players sticking together as a union.
There will likely be more to this story, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and move through all phases of OTAs.