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Notes: NFL altering offseason programs after pressure from players/NFLPA

On field drills delayed as NFL and NFLPA work to find common ground

NFL: JUL 28 Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the NFL Spring offseason set to begin on Monday, April 19, the NFL and NFLPA have been negotiating safety protocols for weeks, with the NFL hoping to get the league back on its traditional schedule and the union pushing for a virtual offseason.

Wednesday morning, the Detroit Lions players released a formal statement via the NFLPA, stating their concerns over COVID-19 safety protocols and that as a group they would be supporting their union by not be attending any in-person voluntary workouts.

The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all released similar statements earlier this week, and the New England Patriots followed the Lions with their own statement.

This afternoon, the NFL presented an altered schedule to teams, delaying voluntary in-person on-field drills by roughly a month, which will allow both sides to continue working towards finding a compromise.

Here’s how the new schedule is laid out:

Phase 1 (April 19 - May 14): Virtual meetings, no on-field drills, and weight room remains open with safety protocols in place

Phase 2 (May 17 - 24): Virtual meetings, and on-field drill with coaches begin (no contact permitted)

Phase 3 (May 24 - June 18): Traditional OTAs (10 days), meetings can be virtual or in-person, and a mandatory mini-camp

Outside of the mandatory mini-camp, the rest of the workouts are voluntary, and with the Lions’ players’ statement earlier today, it’s hard to say when the team will actually take the field. Negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA will continue, and hopefully common ground will be achieved, but for now things appear in flux and are capable of changing at anytime.

Now onto the rest of today’s notes:

  • Per MMQB’s Albert Breer, the Lions sent “a couple of guys” to Ohio State’s second pro day today:

QB Justin Fields is, of course, the big draw, but defensive back Shaun Wade was also testing today. After being unable to participate in OSU’s first pro day because of a toe injury, Wade put together a nice day—his agent tweeted out his numbers:

  • Sticking with the Draft theme, Derrick Klassen of Football Outsiders released his “2021 Quantifying Quarterbacks” worksheet with loads of data on the top quarterbacks in this draft class:

  • The Lions continued their prospect profile series from HOF writer Mike O’Hara, this time featuring the top-5 linebackers in this class:

  • If you’re looking for not as well known prospects who deserve more attention, The Athletic’s Chris Burke offered five of his favorites:

  • Caio Brighenti was a finalist for the NFL’s Big Data Bowl in January 2020, created the Boo-meter to track fan responses during the NFL Draft, and earned a job as a “Football Analytics Assistant” with the Lions last July. He was recently promoted to “Analyst, Football Information” as noted by Seth Waller, ESPN’s Sports Analytics Writer:

  • The NFL announced that as an organization, it helped administer more than two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines via their stadiums and facilities, including relying on Ford Field as one of their stations:

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