Browns DT Shelby Harris slams reported NFLPA proposal to start training camp weeks earlier

The NFLPA is reportedly considering a proposal to overhaul the league's offseason workout program with a new schedule that would start training camp weeks earlier.

The proposal raises an obvious question: Why is the players union pushing to cut players' summer breaks short? Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shelby Brown is among those who would like to know.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the proposal on Tuesday. Per the report, the pending proposal seeks to eliminate spring workouts in favor of an earlier start to formal training camp. Those workouts consist of three phases (rookie minicamp, voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp) that generally take place during a span from early May to mid-June. There are also team meetings that generally start in mid-April.

For example, here's the 2024 offseason schedule for the Buffalo Bills:

  • Rookie minicamp: May 10-11

  • Voluntary OTAs: May 20-21, May 23, May 28-30, June 3-4, June 6

  • Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

Players then get a break until training camps get underway in mid-July. The earliest date that veterans had to report to camp in 2023 was July 19 (New York Jets) with the rest of the league's players required to report by July 26 at the latest. The report dates are based on teams' preseason schedules, with teams playing in the kickoff Hall of Fame Game reporting earlier than others.

Per Pelissero, the NFLPA's pending proposal would cut the spring workout schedule and move the start of training camp up to mid-June, marking a significantly earlier start to mandatory preseason activities.

Harris, a 10-year veteran, was vocal in his opposition to the proposal on social media Tuesday, declaring repeatedly that players don't want an earlier start to training camp.

Pelissero's report states otherwise. Per the report, "a majority" of players support the idea. Which again begs the question: Why would players support an earlier start to mandatory training camp that would cut their summer breaks short?

Per Pelissero, the earlier start to training camp in coordination with the elimination of spring activities would theoretically reduce injury risk. From the report:

"The NFLPA has consulted medical and performance experts in hopes of creating a common-sense solution for reducing injuries and maximizing players’ recovery time."

Harris doesn't appear to be buying it.

The proposal is being considered under the relatively new leadership of NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell, who was elected to succeed DeMaurice Smith in June 2023.

Players other than Harris didn't have much to say in favor or against the proposal when it was reported on Tuesday — in public at least.

Former NFL player and current podcaster Geoff Schwartz echoed Harris' sentiments while speculating that the proposal is a precursor to expanding the season to an 18-game schedule.

Other players are sure to chime in as this story evolves.