The Detroit Lions are on Day 3 of Organized Team Activities, and Dan Campbell is already impressed with the team’s buy-in. Per Campbell, over 80 players of the team’s 90-man limit have reported to OTAs—voluntary practices that the players are not obligated to participate in.
“To me, that sends a message loud and clear that at least they’ve taken the first step,” Campbell told media via Zoom on Thursday morning. “They’ve taken the first step and that tells us as coaches, like, they are committed.”
Earlier this offseason, Lions players released a statement through the NFLPA that they were not going to show up to voluntary workouts due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Based on the continuing guidance of medical experts,” the statement wrote, “it is in everyone’s best interest to play it safe again this offseason.”
It’s unclear what exactly has changed since the players’ statement from April, but when asked if Campbell made any concessions to the players in terms of how OTAs will work, he was non-committal.
“There were things that I was already going to do anyway before this came up,” Campbell said. “I would say this, I talked to players and I talked to some of the leadership on this team, some of the guys that were here, and some of the guys that we had brought in as free agents. The best way to put this is, look, what do we want this to be? Not just them, but us. What do we want this to look like?”
Some differences from normal OTAs include a limited amount of work as a team. Campbell said there would be no full-speed 11-on-11s, even though that is permitted in Phase Three of the offseason. Instead, they’ll be doing walkthroughs and full-speed seven-on-sevens.
“All I can say is this is the first step,” Campbell said. “These guys were willing to take the first step, and to me, that speaks volumes. It does. So, this leadership and these players, they wanted to do this. They wanted to be here and they’re here.”