Mahomes noncommittal on whether he and Chiefs teammates will attend in-person workouts

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Sam McDowell
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Patrick Mahomes walked into the Chiefs practice facility Monday morning, a day that began like most others over the past two months — with rehab from offseason toe surgery.

But by later that afternoon, the process would have a different feel. The Chiefs commenced their offseason program with virtual meetings Monday, and they expected to have their players participate in the online calls.

For now.

When it comes to attendance for the on-field workouts later this summer? To be determined.

Players from more than half the league’s teams have now released statements through the NFL Players Association that they plan to skip in-person workouts this summer, citing COVID-19 health and safety concerns and arguing against the necessity of the on-field work.

The Chiefs are not one of them.

Not yet.

But Mahomes hinted Monday that could still change. The discussions between Chiefs players on the topic remains ongoing.

“Obviously it’s virtual right now, so we still have a little time to think about it and figure out the best plan for us as a team,” Mahomes said. “We’re in talks with the NFLPA, and we’re trying to figure out what’s best for not only us but for the entire league.”

The virtual meetings highlight Phase I of the offseason program and span through May 14, though rehabbing players (like Mahomes) and others doing strength and conditioning work can still complete it at the team facilities. The Phase II workouts include some on-field position drills with coaches from May 17-21.

During the third phase, from May 24-June 18, teams are permitted to include 10 days of organized team activities (OTAs), which are voluntary in-person practices.

A three-day minicamp, the only mandatory portion of the offseason workout program, follows the third phase.

Last week, the Broncos announced their intentions to skip the in-person voluntary workouts. They were the first. Far from the last. Players from 19 teams released similar statements in a unified fashion over the last week.

The NFLPA has reiterated its stance that players should not attend the in-person voluntary workouts, with NFLPA president J.C. Tretter mentioning that the pandemic is ongoing. He also cited statistics that injuries and concussions dipped in 2020 after a virtual offseason.

Mahomes said Monday that Chiefs players plan to take into consideration what the remainder of the league’s players have decided.

“Trying to figure out what’s best not only for myself, not only for the Chiefs but what’s best for the teams around the league,” Mahomes said. “We’ll figure it out in the next couple of weeks and we’ll be able to get back to you then.”

Until then, the virtual meetings are a go. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the topic will entail scheme evaluation, essentially a review of assigned work the coaches have produced over the past two months.

“We’ll have a two-hour block there where we can visit with the players on the actual scheme evaluations that we’ve been going through as a staff here on this past season,” Reid said. “That’s always an interesting time because you can go through and make yourself a better football team if you approach it the right way.”

He added, “We can go over this whole scheme eval, and we (spend) endless hours on that thing, just trying to make it right. And so I think that’s important — that’s the crawl before you walk, when hopefully you’re able to get the guys in one of the other phases. For right now, this ends up being the most important thing as we move forward.”