NFL Podcast Video: Will players sit out 2020 with COVID-19 concerns?

Terez Paylor and Charles Robinson have the latest surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 opt-out negotiations and delve into the advantages certain teams will have to lean on during the 2020 season.

Video Transcript

TEREZ PAYLOR: The NFL and NFLPA are negotiating the COVID-19 opt-out clause for players--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

TEREZ PAYLOR: --for the upcoming season. Guys are gonna take advantage of that. OK?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Like there are some--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yup.

TEREZ PAYLOR: --like, get ready for that. And let me just lay the foundation for this right now, OK? If somebody opts out of playing, y'all better not skewer them.

CHARLES ROBINSON: No.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Y'all better not skewer-- and there better not be any shaming about quitting on their team. I don't care how big the guy is. If a popular quarterback does it, if a popular running back does it, that's a personal choice, y'all. Y'all can't be all here shaming cats for sitting out something that's very serious, 'cause you've already kind of seen this in the NBA, right?

See Avery Bradley-- you know, there are players out here that are like, I'm not gonna play, because for various reasons, they don't want to endanger other people. Yes, these are very healthy individuals, but the people around them aren't always healthy. And they have responsibilities to their loved ones.

So I'm gonna tell you right now, I better not see any of that, you know? If a player quits in the middle of the season 'cause they decide it's not healthy, great. Do what's best for you, bro. Like, it--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

TEREZ PAYLOR: --is not gonna be OK. I'm just telling you, don't do that. It's gonna look bad.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Don't do it. The thing I'm just trying to prepare people for-- like, this is not gonna be like 2019. This is not gonna be like 2009.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

TEREZ PAYLOR: This is not gonna be like 1999. We've never seen a season like this. The best team might not win.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yep.

TEREZ PAYLOR: The best team probably won't win. It'll be the last team standing. I do think the best-coached teams are going to have a real advantage, Charles. I think we agree on that. But in many ways, this-- it's gonna be a crapshoot this year.

The league's worst market? Pick one of the worst teams from last year. Hell, you could find yourself in the AFC or NFC Championship Game, if you get the right breaks. This is gonna be that kind of season.

And I also think the teams that are best-run are gonna get-- are gonna be at an advantage, too, because here's something else. You and I need to think about-- and fans out there need to think about how many players emerge during training camp and how many guys that get picked up from the wire end up contributing from their teams.

Now you-- now, like, you're looking at, like, eliminating preseason. That's one thing I don't know if we mentioned. The NFLPA board voted unanimously to recommend canceling the entire preseason.

The teams that have scouted the best, that have the best-evaluated talent, the best scouts who know information, they're gonna be seized here. They're gonna be primed here to seize on these opportunities with players. But understand--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

TEREZ PAYLOR: --because they're not gonna have tape on guys from preseason, it will be more of a crapshoot. Guys are gonna come out of nowhere to be contributors. Guys who you're used to being good might not be good. Like, this season's gonna be a crapshoot.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think the jobs of individuals who attack tape and break it down-- there will never be a more important first two weeks of a season than this--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Yes.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --because you're gonna be sitting there going, every opponent now who is on our schedule, after week 1, you're pulling all their games.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Yes.

CHARLES ROBINSON: And you're sitting there going, we have to now pound this--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Who can play. Right.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --and look at every single thing we can, because we got nothing else to go on here. And after week 2, every single opponent we play-- like, you are going to-- the advanced scouts are going to be--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Huge.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --hard pressed to make sure they get it right. And then, you know, the internal IT department compiling and cutting up every situational piece of film is gonna be working overtime, which is-- that's another thing. I think the clubs that have advantages in that IT department, that have advantages in the analytics, that do cut-ups really well, who break down game situations really well, and then, you know-- so players, if they're doing virtual meetings, they're saying, here we go, right here. We have all the cut-ups you need to understand, who you're going to be facing, what it's looking like early, all these things.

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