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NFLPA fires back at NFL after Ja’Wuan James injury

DeMaurice Smith
 

In light of the Achilles injury Denver Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James suffered while training away from the team facility, the NFLPA maintains its position that players should not attend voluntary workouts.

The association also offered a stinging rebuke to the NFL for its “gutless” response to James’ injury.

James’ ailment may be season-ending and could cost him his $10-million salary for the 2021 season. The 28-year-old is one of many players boycotting voluntary workouts, but if he had been training at the Broncos’ facility, his contract would be covered despite the injury.

The NFL released a league-wide memo in the aftermath, stating teams don’t have an obligation to “provide salary continuation during the year the injury is sustained.”

“Injuries sustained while a player is working out ‘on his own’ in a location other than an NFL facility are considered ‘non-football injuries’ and are outside the scope of a typical skill, injury, and cap guarantee,” read the memo.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president JC Tretter took issue with said response.

“It was gutless to use a player’s serious injury as a scare tactic to get you to come running back to these workouts,” read the NFLPA’s memo to players. “This memo is yet another sign of what they think of you and also affirms that they simply want to control you year-round in any and every way that they can.”

Smith and Tretter have also noted teams have honored a player’s contract despite such an injury in past circumstances.

The NFLPA said it will continue to support each player as they choose to stay away from team facilities for voluntary offseason work.

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