NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith has said the union will negotiate an opt-out for players again for the 2021 football season, NFL Network reported Monday.
Dozens of players opted out of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith made the comment on a call with rookies and their agents, per the report.
During the same call, NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter reinforced the union’s position that every player — including rookies — boycott voluntary on-field organized team activities (OTAs), according to the report.
“This is not a 2021 offseason issue. This will be an issue year after year,” Tretter said, per NFL Network.
Last month, Smith pointed to last year’s fully virtual program as evidence that skipping voluntary workouts makes sense.
“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 last month.
“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.”