Tretter leading NFL players through COVID-19 concerns

Browns center proceeding cautiously as union president.

Tretter leading NFL players through COVID-19 concerns
Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) lines up in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. Tennessee won 43-13. (AP Photo/David Richard) (Source: David Richard)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In early March, when J.C. Tretter took over as president of the players’ union, the great debate was whether there should be 17 games in a season.

Now, we don’t know if we’ll have any.

The Browns center is leading players around the NFL through the quarantine, and he’s doing it cautiously.

“Our priority is always going to be the health and safety of the players,” Tretter said during a zoom meeting with reporters on Tuesday. “Usually when you say that, you mean on the field, but obviously it takes a new meaning with everything going on now.”

“It’s not 1, 2, 5 things,” Tretter says. “There’s a long list of hurdles. The virus is constantly changing.”

Tretter won’t look too far ahead. He said he’s taking it two weeks at a time, so there’s no way to project whether or not training camp will kick off on time.

And he admitted, the players are looking at everything at this point: safety procedures, special masks, everything, as they think outside the box.

“You have to fit football inside this world of coronavirus, and don’t get caught up fitting coronavirus inside this world of football,” Tretter says.

A world that Tretter says is more vulnerable than many think.

“There are a lot of people with underlying conditions inside our league,” Tretter says. “People see pro athletes as these invincible robots, always in the best shape, and that’s not really the case.”

And while he admits there are risks for everyone, in every day activities, playing football brings added risks.

“This is a contact disease and we play a contact sport,” Tretter says. “The way this thing spreads is through contact, and that’s what we do for a living.”

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