The 2021 NFL season is quickly approaching as teams have already begun to move on to phase 2 of the OTA period. Players and coaches have taken the field to prepare for what should be an exciting season despite the NFLPA’s request to boycott.
The NFLPA urged teams not to participate in OTAs due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Several teams, including the Raiders, put out statements saying they would not appear for the offseason program, but it appears as though players have walked back their stance as camps begin to fill up.
With phase two underway Vincent Bonsignore of Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Raiders had roughly 70 players in attendance.
Turnout for @Raiders first day of in-person on-field phase of OTA’s today in the 70 player range. So strong showing
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) May 17, 2021
In a normal NFL offseason, attendance for OTAs is generally close to 100%, but given the circumstances having 70 players show up for voluntary workouts should make head coach Jon Gruden and the rest of the coaching staff happy. Unlike last offseason held entirely online, the rookies and new players will actually get a chance to work out with their teammates and presumably build better chemistry heading into the new year.
Playing a part in the players’ decision to participate in offseason workouts is that NFL teams are not required to pay for a players’ salary if they are injured working out at a non-approved facility. A few players have already suffered season-ending injuries away from their team’s facility, so it makes sense as to why players are showing up to their respective training sites.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Raiders will get their full 90-man roster to show up. Still, this initial showing means that players are dedicated to getting their work in and hopefully making the 53-man roster once the front office and coaching staff begin making cuts.