While the NFL announced on Saturday that it would be reinforcing training camp start dates, the players wanted to do something that showed the world there was still much work to do if the league indeed wanted to move forward with a 2020 regular season. On Sunday around 12 p.m. ET, dozens of players released statements on Twitter demanding that the league devise a better plan to fight COVID-19 in 2020 -- complete with the hashtag, #WeWantToPlay. Whose idea was this coordinated social media attack? Apparently it was brainstormed by a new member of the Miami Dolphins.
On Sunday afternoon, ESPN's Dan Graziano reported that the NFL player tweetstorm was forged by former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones. Jones reportedly suggested the idea on a player reps call as a way to get out the message that players aren't just trying to get out of training camp. "We want to play, let's just make it safe," he reportedly said.
Earlier this offseason, Jones signed a record-setting deal with the Dolphins after spending his first five years with the Cowboys. In 79 career games, he has recorded 349 combined tackles, 43 passes defensed and two interceptions to go along with one Pro Bowl appearance. Now as one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, Jones is making an effort to stand up for his fellow players.
There's still a lot for the NFL and NFLPA to hash out, and they don't have much time at all to do it. While safety protocol, opt-out procedures and talks surrounding loss of revenue dominate the landscape, so does the preseason. The NFLPA has maintained that a preseason is not necessary, while the league is pushing for exhibition games. On Monday, however, the NFL altered its proposal to include just one preseason game rather than two. Clearly, the league is willing to compromise having already slashed the preseason length down twice, now we will have to wait to see if they can work out specific safety protocols in order to combat the coronavirus in a timely manner.