TAMPA — Nobody may have a bigger platform among NFL players than Tom Brady, the league’s elder statesman after more than two decades and seven Super Bowl victories.
When he speaks, in the huddle or elsewhere, players listen.
Perhaps that’s why Brady joined an NFLPA conference call Friday and delivered “an impassioned speech” encouraging players to stand united in their boycott of the offseason until they can negotiate a modified agreement, the Times confirmed.
Brady’s participation in the call was first reported by NFL Network.
Brady offered perspective on the issue from his 20 years of experience and how the teams, players and union need to negotiate.
The Times learned that Brady also offered insight into how offseason preparation by today’s athletes is considerably different than in years past.
Bucs players can begin some field work during offseason workouts at team facilities beginning with the rookie minicamp May 14-15. The Bucs have full-squad voluntary organized team activities scheduled for May 25-27, June 1-3, June 15-17 and a mandatory minicamp June 7-9.
The NFLPA has told players not to attend the offseason workout program and encouraged rookies to boycott their minicamps.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has been vocal about eliminating offseason workouts, including mandatory minicamp, similar to what they did during the pandemic in 2020.
The NFL reminded teams Wednesday in a memo that players who suffer an injury away from the team facility do not have to be paid.
The topic came to the forefront when Broncos offensive lineman Ja’Waun James tore his Achilles tendon during a workout away from the team facility and could miss the entire season. Such injuries are often categorized as ‘non-football related.’”
Bucs players were among those from more than 20 teams that issued statements through the NFLPA saying they would not participate in voluntary offseason workouts.
Players salaries are paid only during the regular season, and clearly they would prefer not to have to participate in organized offseason workouts, even if they are voluntary.
A year ago, after Brady signed with the Bucs during the COVID-19 pandemic, team facilities were closed. He organized workouts with more than a dozen teammates at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. Those workouts continued even after the NFLPA issued a memo asking players to refrain from gathering while they negotiated protocols for playing during the pandemic.
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