April 16 (UPI) -- Members of the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants became the latest on a growing list of players to announce they will skip voluntary off-season workouts, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Football League Players Association, the labor union that represents NFL players, announced Thursday that players from the Raiders, Giants, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears will not participate in the workouts.
The league announced its off-season workout schedule Wednesday. The nine-week program starts Monday. The third and final phase of the program runs from May 24 to June 18, and include 10 days of voluntary workouts as well as mandatory minicamps.
The union said the "majority" of the Bears locker room will not participate in voluntary workouts, but did not say specifically how many Browns, Raiders or Giants players would skip the sessions.
"We respect those players on our team and across the NFL who have contractual incentives linked to their participation in the program, but we stand in solidarity with our fellow players who are making the best decision on behalf of themselves and their families," the union said on behalf of Raiders players.
Members of the Denver Broncos on Tuesday became the first NFL players to announce plans to skip the workouts.
"COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and to our communities, and it makes no sense for us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period," the union said on behalf of Broncos players.
Browns players said that they "felt healthier both mentally and physically" last off-season, when the NFL had virtual meetings instead of the longer ramp-up period for minicamps and training camps.