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Ravens players will skip in-person voluntary workouts this offseason, joining wave of teams

Ravens players on Saturday joined a wave of NFL teams that will skip in-person voluntary workouts because of the coronavirus pandemic this offseason.

In a statement shared by the NFL Players Association, the league’s players union, the Ravens announced: “Our team leaders have discussed with each other, with our teammates and with the NFLPA, and in solidarity with the other members of our union across the league, we have decided to exercise our [collective bargaining agreement] right not to attend in-person voluntary offseason workouts.”

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Earlier Saturday, New Orleans Saints players said through the NFLPA that they also would not be on hand for their sessions. Players from many other teams are expected to announce plans this weekend. The offseason sessions begin Monday, and on Wednesday, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams saying the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual. The plan is to then transition to in-person work at team facilities.

Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Saying no to in-person workouts earlier this week were players from the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions, Clevleand Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins. The New York Jets said “many” of their players would skip them.

The San Francisco 49ers issued a similar statement Saturday, saying “many in our locker room have chosen not to attend some or all phases of the voluntary in-person workouts” because of concerns about COVID-19.

Following the lead of Browns center JC Tretter, the NFLPA’s president, the Dolphins noted they would “stand in solidarity with players across the league who are making informed decisions to exercise their right to not attend voluntary in-person workouts this offseason.”

Added the Chargers: “We had a virtual offseason last year that protected us and our families from a pandemic, but also showed beneficial to our overall health and safety.”

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Late last month, Tretter issued a strong statement on the NFLPA website calling for the elimination of such things as organized team activities and minicamps.

“The good news for our sport is that while the NFL season looked and felt noticeably different from previous years,” he wrote, “we learned that the game of football did not suffer at the expense of protecting its players more than ever before.

“Our process is to follow the science on what is safest for our guys, and many of the changes this past year — like no in-person offseason workouts/practices, the extended acclimation period before training camp and no preseason games — gave us a year of data that demonstrates maintaining some of these changes long term is in the best interest of the game.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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