NFLPA recommends that players stop private group workouts

The NFL Players Association is advising its players to cease private group workouts.

NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer released a statement Saturday recommending players to stop "practicing together" until the start of training camps in late July.

"Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts," Mayer wrote. "Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.

"We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that it is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences."

Mayer's recommendation comes amid a rise in positive COVID-19 cases among NFL players and team employees. Just in the last week, the Buccaneers announced individuals at their facility tested positive; a 49ers player who was working out with teammates in Nashville tested positive; multiple players on the Texans and Cowboys, including star running back Ezekiel Elliott, tested positive; and Broncos defensive back Kareem Jackson told NFL Network's James Palmer that he tested positive, as well.

With team facilities closed to players until further notice and likely until the start of training camp, players have sought to get their reps in with each other at local parks, high schools and universities. That's the case especially for new quarterbacks, running backs and pass-catchers trying to get on the same page before camp. For example, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray was organizing multiple team workouts this weekend with teammates such as DeAndre Hopkins in Dallas, and Sam Darnold traveled to Florida last week to work out with Jets teammates like rookie Denzel Mims.

While the NFLPA can't force players to quit working out together, Saturday's statement signals to its voting body that continuing to practice away from the team facility could put players' health, and potentially the 2020 season, in jeopardy.

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