The NFL Players Association is campaigning for a virtual offseason, and many members of the Patriots plan to skip voluntary offseason workouts.
Cam Newton, however, is not one of them. Last season’s starting Patriots quarterback is not only in Foxboro, he is leading the OTAs according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Patriots’ voluntary offseason program begins today, with the 1st phase extending through May 14. This phase includes virtual meetings of up to 2 hours per day, with facilities and weight rooms open with capacity limits.
Cam Newton among those leading the charge in attendance.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 19, 2021
On March 12, Newton announced his return to the Patriots after a disappointing 7-9 season marred by his COVID-19 diagnosis.
“That’s the thing: They’ve been sleeping on Boogie in 2020,” Newton said in a hype video released to Instagram. “But I refuse to let them [expletive] slip or sleep on me in 2021. 2021 is savage.”
Newton currently would be in line to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback in Week 1, but that could change when the NFL Draft begins later this month.
As noted by MassLive’s Chris Mason, Newton has a $100,000 workout bonus baked into his contract. Many other Patriots players, however, do not plan to participate in OTAs. Those players penned a statement regarding their decision, citing the health and safety benefits of a virtual offseason.
“In solidarity with other players across the NFL and in the interest of our health and safety, many of us at the New England Patriots will be exercising our right to not attend voluntary workouts this offseason,” the players said in a statement. “The NFL has yet to agree to the full details of a plan for players despite the fact that we are a few short days away from the start of voluntary workouts. The threat of COVID-19 is still serious in our community and across the country, and we think it is safer for everyone if we choose to workout on our own. While we understand that some players will need to go for various reasons and some safety measures have been put in place, we also know that NFL players have a choice which our union bargained for.”
The statement added that the players are seasoned professionals who “know how to prepare our minds and bodies for an NFL season.”
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