Chicago Bears players – through the NFLPA – sent a memo last April declaring the intent of a “majority’ of players to skip out on in-person voluntary workouts occurring in this phase of OTAs.
Evidently, there was a change of heart because attendance was apparently robust:
Bears had about 70 players in attendance on Monday for Day 1 of Phase 2 of the voluntary offseason program — and near perfect attendance on offense. Certainly qualifies as a good day at Halas Hall to have so many players in the building during an uncertain offseason.
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) May 18, 2021
The Bears had approximately 70 players in attendance for Monday’s first day of voluntary workouts, including “near perfect attendance” from players on the offensive side of the ball. That’s certainly notable. Are we seeing the Justin Fields effect taking place already? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Having a vast majority of players showing up to voluntary workouts a month after indicating they wouldn’t is a development. It is news that comes a day after the team announced it was trimming a week off the OTAs training schedule. With that in mind, it is possible players traded axing some OTA dates in exchange for participation in earlier activities. If that’s the case, then it’s good negotiation by both sides. Especially with Matt Nagy saying Phase 2 will feature more strength and conditioning, mental reps, and a reduced on-field load.
With uncertainty still surrounding 2021 COVID protocols, concessions from both sides regarding OTAs shows there is a middle ground. It makes me want to stay tuned to see if the Bears have put together a blueprint for other teams around the league to follow.