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New England Patriots players released a statement last week saying “many of us” would not participate in voluntary workouts at team facilities “in the interest of our health and safety.” 

Cam Newton isn’t one of the “many.” The quarterback is “among those leading the charge in attendance,” ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported on Monday. 

Phase 1 of offseason voluntary workouts begins Monday and runs through May 14. They include virtual meetings and up to two hours of in-facility time per day. The second phase, which covers on-field work, begins May 17. 

NFL players concerned about COVID-19 safety

Nearly two-thirds of NFL teams experienced players submitting statements through the NFL Players Association that they would not attend voluntary workouts unless adequate COVID-19 protocols were in place. The league and players’ union failed to agree to safety terms ahead of the workouts. 

The Patriots players were among the first group of teams to release NFLPA statements on Tuesday and Wednesday. It read in part: 

“The threat of COVID-19 is still a serious threat in our community and across the country, and we think it is safer for everyone if we choose to workout on our own. While we understand that some players will need to go for various reasons and some safety measures have been put in place, we also know that NFL players have a choice which our union bargained for.” 

Reiss reported on Sunday that Newton, 31, has been near Foxboro working out over the last week. In a follow-up reply tweet, he said it appears that “the majority of the players” will be at workouts this phase. 

Newton, who tested positive for COVID-19 in October, has a $100,000 workout bonus as part of the one-year contract he signed in the offseason. He would forfeit it if he doesn’t attend voluntary workouts. 

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