NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote in December that he doesn’t think there’s any reason to return to the previous offseason schedule based on the 2020 season’s results.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that “virtual is going to be a part of our lives” going forward.
But eliminating the offseason program — the vast majority of which is voluntary — and permanently reducing training camp isn’t universally agreed upon. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said Thursday that he’s found real value in the work done in the spring and summer.
“Well me personally, I’ve always been a guy where I need the reps,” Kelce said. “I’m out there every day at practice, working my tail off. I need all the reps that I can get so I can be ready fo every single look out there on the field. And that includes training camp, that includes OTAs and minicamp. So I’m a big advocate for making sure guys get those reps.
“I think without the mentality of me practicing every single day and really being locked in every single day, without that over the course of my career, I don’t know if I’m the same player — just because I learned from every single one of those reps and I learned from watching other guys run routes and block and do other things in the offseason.”
There is some irony in Kelce saying this when he set a single-season tight ends record with 1,416 yards receiving in 2020 — and he had no offseason program to get ready for the year. But Kelce also had seven seasons worth of practices under his belt.
“I think there can be a balance of it all,” Kelce said. “But I do at the end of the day feel like there’s a lot of guys out here that need these reps to become great. And limiting those reps for guys just for the sake of whatever it is, I think isn’t very beneficial to the league in general. Whether that’s cutting back on preseason games or making sure they’re there for the young guys to get film and get those reps, I’m all for it. But I do believe training camp, the offseason, OTAs, getting in this building and working on your craft is something that’s needed.”
If there are to be changes to the offseason program, then it will have to be collectively bargained. But, again, the vast majority of it is voluntary. So while there might be more virtual meetings, many players may get plenty out of the in-person offseason work.