#WeWantToPlay: Eagles players demand improvements to NFL’s coronavirus safety plan

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Remember when the coronavirus pandemic first put sports like basketball, baseball and hockey on hold? 

Unlike those leagues, football was able to operate with free agency, an extremely successful draft, and virtual off-season programs. At that point, the NFL had time on its side. 

Not anymore. 

Countless NFL players posted on social media Sunday expressing their concerns over coronavirus health and safety — especially considering training camps start this week. 

Kansas City and Houston rookies report to camp Monday. The rest of the rookies start Tuesday. 

Quarterbacks and injury players are expected to arrive by Thursday, and remaining players by July 28. 

With camps quickly approaching, many players are wary about how safe they will actually be. 

Texans star defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who previously shared his concerns on Twitter, tweeted on Sunday: “We still do not know if there will be daily testing, every other day testing, etc.” 

He added, “We still do not know how a positive Covid test will be handled in regards to others in close contact (in the huddle, directly engaged with, etc.).”

Once again in the interest of keeping everyone (players & fans) as informed as possible, here is an updated list of what we as players know and don’t know as the first group gets set to report to training camp tomorrow.#WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/xQcjs33zgM

— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 19, 2020

Eagles players joined in the #WeWantToPlay trend on Sunday, including Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz, Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills. 

We all want to play this season, but we need to stay safe in order to actually have a season! It’s time for the @NFL to step up and do their part so that us players can be safe at work and go play the game we love! #WeWantToPlay

— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) July 19, 2020

Listen to us!!! #WeWantToPlay

— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) July 19, 2020

Playing football and feeling safe at work SHOULD NOT be mutually exclusive! Time is running down and we need answers #WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/YPboNL47Mf

— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) July 19, 2020

Its crazy to hear that the NFL has yet to address major health issues with training camp being a couple days away. We ready to play football. Make it happen @NFL Keep us Safe! #WeWantToPlay

— Brandon Graham (@brandongraham55) July 19, 2020

C'mon @NFL. #WeWantToPlay

— Lane Johnson (@LaneJohnson65) July 19, 2020


— Desean Jackson (@DeSeanJackson10) July 19, 2020

Why isn’t the NFL listening to the recommendation from their own joint committee? If we want to have a full season it will have to look different. @NFL make the necessary changes.   #WeWantToPlay

— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) July 19, 2020

If Adam Silver can respect and protect his NBA players why can’t @NFL do the same or us? Listen to your players!   #WeWanttoPlay

— Rodney McLeod (@Rodney_McLeod4) July 19, 2020

#WeWanttoPlay that simple just protect us and our families

— Jalen Mills (@greengoblin) July 19, 2020

On Monday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the league’s latest proposal includes only one preseason game instead of two, but the players prefer none. 

So it now appears likely the NFL will have either one preseason game or none in 2020. Focus continues to be on playing a full regular season and postseason. #Chiefs rookies and QBs and #Texans rookies are the first to report today, as talks between the NFL and NFLPA continue. https://t.co/bJc0r3aY4j

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 20, 2020

In June, the NFL sent teams a detailed memo of safety protocols, which some — like Ravens head coach John Harbaugh — considered unrealistic. Now in late July, several players are still seeking more answers from the league.

I am concerned.My wife is pregnant.@NFL Training camp is about to start..And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. ----We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay

— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) July 19, 2020

We need Football! We need sports! We need hope! The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that. If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. Get it done @NFL

— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) July 19, 2020

Getting ready to report this week hoping the @NFL will come to agreement with the safe and right protocols so we can feel protected playing the sport we love #WeWantToPlay

— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) July 19, 2020

The NFL has ignored the safety recommendations from the experts that THEY hired. We all love this game and want to go out and compete with our brothers. The NFL needs to provide a safe work environment for us to do that. #WeWantToPlay

— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 19, 2020

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefan Diggs compared their situation to the NBA’s, which is scheduled to resume its season later this month. 

If #AdamSilver can respect the voices and protect his @NBA players why can’t @NFLcommish do the same? Listen to your players. If we want to have a full season it will have to look different with OUR safety as the priority. @NFL make the necessary changes. #WeWantToPlay

— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) July 19, 2020

On Friday, the NFL released a statement, saying in part: “We will continue to implement the health and safety protocols developed jointly with the NFLPA, and based on the advice of leading medical experts, including review by the CDC.”

The league said any decision will be focused on putting the NFL in a position to play an entire regular and postseason.

We just wrapped up a productive call with the 32 clubs pic.twitter.com/sRn5Bnl33O

— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) July 17, 2020