NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith unhappy with players’ group workouts

DeMaurice Smith
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith voiced his displeasure with players partaking in group workouts in recent days after the union advised them to stop doing so.

“Those practices are not in the best interest of player safety,” Smith told USA Today Sports. “They’re not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp. And I don’t think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season.”

On June 20, NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer issued a statement advising players to remain isolated and refrain from getting together while coronavirus cases across the United States continue to spike.

Notable NFL stars such as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Seattle Seahawks slinger, Russell Wilson, have been seen on video working out with teammates — the former working out with more than a dozen at a Tampa prep school last week.

Their group workouts seem to be in even poorer taste when considering that approximately 10 NFL teams have reported at least one case of coronavirus recently.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, that list includes the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, and Brady’s Buccaneers.

Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was the most notable player who tested positive for the virus.

The NFL has maintained a full-speed-ahead approach during the pandemic, carrying out its annual draft in April while slowly reopening team facilities.

Training camp is still a go for late July, but last week saw the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton, OH scheduled for Aug. 8 postponed until next season.