Steelers News

Steelers’ Players Announce They Won’t Attend Voluntary Workouts

Following the path several teams have already taken, the Pittsburgh Steelers players — through the union — announced they won’t be taking part in voluntary workouts this offseason.

The statement Pittsburgh issued:

The statement reads, in part:

“We should not be made to compromise our health and safety…. the players of the Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to exercise our right to not participate in voluntary in-person activities.”

It goes on to say the offseason won’t offer the same level of protection it did during the regular season. It concludes by saying, “Our team holds each other accountable to the highest professional standards and we will prepare as we always do to be the best for Steelers Nation.”

Player rep Cam Heyward sent out a series of scathing tweets last week, criticizing the NFL for attempting to hold in-person workouts this spring. Heyward, like many other union reps, is advocating for another all-virtual offseason, to keep players safe during the pandemic.

 

It’s unclear if the NFL will make a serious push to hold in-person activities. Earlier this offseason, Steelers’ Team President Art Rooney II hinted at trying to do so. It would be on a delayed timetable from normal workouts, though. Rooney said those workouts are important for young players to grow and develop.

“We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program,” Rooney said in February. “And it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

On Wednesday, the NFL released its offseason schedule. Part of it will be held virtually. But the NFL scheduled a rookie minicamp and rookie developmental program in addition to voluntary OTAs. That would take place in Phase Three, running from May 24th to June 18th.

Multiple teams have come out in support of boycotting the offseason. The first team to make the announcement was the Denver Broncos, followed by the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Detroit Lions. The Steelers are the 10th team to make such a statement.

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