Earlier this week we noted that Detroit Lions players were organizing football-specific workouts while the lockout rolls on. At about the same time, Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk questioned the value of such workouts in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In an ESPN phone interview, Hawk said he would be in favor of gathering with his teammates for offseason lockout workouts provided the setting was appropriate.
"These owners built these billion dollar facilities and we're not allowed in to work out in them," Hawk said. "The fans ... paid all this money and basically paid for all these stadiums and [owners] won't let us in to work out. That's what I think is a disaster. We've got guys [around the NFL] working out on soggy high school fields that are getting rained on, and we don't have proper equipment and we don't have trainers. We don't have anything there. It's kind of on us if guys get hurt."
Some of you might not feel sympathy for an NFL player who practices on a soggy field, but this is a matter of economics, not toughness. Players who suffer an offseason injury during team workouts are covered by the injury provisions in their contracts. If an injury occurs during the lockout, they could ultimately be released or waived without the usual compensation they would receive. So I don't blame players like Hawk for protecting themselves appropriately during this period.
Hawk said that Packers players have discussed the possibility of getting together but noted that team workouts would benefit some positions -- say, quarterback and receivers -- more than others.
"We're going to have to find a good location for this if we do," Hawk said.