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Broncos players vote not to participate in voluntary offseason conditioning due to COVID-19

Although the vaccine is now readily available, players say they are concerned about safety protocols and a fourth wave.

As the official NFL offseason conditioning work is getting ready to launch next week, the Denver Broncos players issued a statement via the NFLPA that they would not be participating due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19.

The statement highlights that COVID-19 remains a threat in Colorado and that “it makes no sense for us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period.”

The statement also reveals that players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks.

Interestingly, the statement ends by referencing that “despite having a completely virtual offseason last year, the quality of play across the NFL was better than ever by almost every measure.”

Ummmm...

Despite the COVID-19 vaccine being widely available across the country right now and set to be available to every adult in the United States just a few days from now, Broncos’ NFLPA rep Brandon McManus issued concerns about lackluster testing protocols, especially when players are going away on weekends or on vacation and coming back to the building, possibly spreading COVID-19.

The NFL today informed teams that any employee who refuses a COVID-19 vaccination without “bona fide medical or religious ground” will be barred access within the team facilities and won’t work directly with players.

“In light of expanded vaccine eligibility, it is appropriate now to take further steps to educate about and promote vaccine availability and acceptance within the NFL,” the league said in a statement.

There has been no directive for NFL players.

Alexander Johnson has been vocal on social media with his own anti-vaccine opinions - along with other NFL players - so the league is likely avoiding a showdown by the athletes who ensure ticket sales.

Although these workouts are always voluntary and a lot of players do their own workouts in the offseason, it would seem that a 5-11 team would be interested in implementing all the ways Americans learned to stop the spread of COVID-19 with masks, regular testing and now the vaccine.

George Stoia pointed out comments from several players earlier this year about the benefit of getting more live reps this offseason through OTAs and training camp.

And Ryan O’Halloran noted that there have been no reported COVID-19 cases at the facility so far this offseason.