In a recent interview with the Washington Post New York Jets safety Eric Smith voiced his displeasure over the player organized workouts that have been conducted all over the country. Smith offered:
“I don’t understand why guys are doing this stuff. You’re risking injury. And you got the rookies who aren’t getting paid any money flying in to do these workouts. So they’re putting themselves in a hole before they make any money. Basically, we’re giving the owners all these practices for free. They aren’t spending any money, but their players are still practicing. So they’re making out.”“
This is an interesting take from a player who could be headed to free agency once a new collective bargaining agreement is put into place. On one side you can understand Smith’s reasoning as the risk of injury could jeopardize his next contract, or career for that matter. At the same time most of the workouts were nothing more than doing exercises, light drill work, along with film studies. These are the same types of activities that most players are doing on their own.
In the end it all comes down to money and each player has to do what is in their own best interest. It is one thing to be a team player, it is another to risk your next paycheck. I do not find fault with any player that does not want to risk injury by participating in these workouts. The NFL stands for “Not For Long”, so players must maximize their opportunities to make the most of their careers.