(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a dozen players showed up at the team’s South Side facility on Monday for strength and conditioning work and more players are expected tomorrow.
In a statement released on behalf of the Steelers players on Friday, the players expressed they'll exercise their right to not participate in voluntary in-person activities for health and safety reasons.
Their statement read the following: “We should not be made to compromise our health and safety. With the current pandemic still affecting our communities and country, and the lack of clear protocols and protections regarding returning to work at full capacity, the players of the Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to exercise our right to not participate in voluntary in-person activities.
“A virtual offseason helped keep us safe to not only start, but finish the regular season as safely as possible and it makes no sense for us to risk infection or injury in the spring if we don’t have to.”
The NFL sent out a memo last week informing clubs it will restructure offseason programs, with Phase 1 extended to four weeks starting Monday, no on-field work until Phase 2 begins May 17 and a normal Phase 3 with four weeks of practice May 24-June 18, culminating with the mandatory minicamp, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The NFLPA has been pushing for an all-virtual offseason and urging players to boycott who didn’t agree to the new plan, per Pelissero. But the NFL has the right to unilaterally implement rules as permitted under the CBA. Everything is voluntary prior to the mandatory minicamp.