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NFLPA Executive Director Has A Message For Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before an NFL game.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up on the sideline during the the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, Tom Brady has been holding some workouts in Tampa recently, trying to get acclimated with his new teammates.

However, these informal practice sessions have drawn criticism because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer has cautioned against these types of workouts, and now NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has weighed in.

In an interview with USA TODAY's Mackenzie Salmon, Smith addressed the recent workouts involving Brady and Bucs players as well as those involving Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

It seems he'd clearly prefer if they weren't happening.

"Those practices are not in the best interest of our player safety. They're not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp and I don't think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season," Smith told Salmon. "I certainly understand how competitive our players are and I get that, but at the same time, we are in the process of trying to negotiate. We have to negotiate with the league about what happens to a player if they test positive during the season, because that player, do they go on injured reserve? Do they go on short-term IR?

"If you test positive for the virus after training camp, is that a work-related injury? Are you covered under workers' comp? What benefits are available to you if you have downstream injuries from contacting COVID-19? All of the things that players may want to do during the offseason have a direct impact on how well we can negotiate protections for them once the season starts. We send out the guidance because we think that was in their best health and safety interest. Let's just say that, for some of the players who've practiced, we've made sure that they've heard the message."

Brady and some teammates have been working out at Berkeley Prep in Tampa over the last month. While the NFLPA can't legally keep guys from getting together and working out, it seems like the organization clearly frowns upon the practice.

We'll see if Smith's words lead to Brady, Wilson or anyone else changing their habits in the upcoming weeks.

[ 247 Sports ]