CLEVELAND — One union took precedence when Browns center JC Tretter considered whether to play in 2020 — his growing family.
The NFLPA's new president, who has spent the past few months fighting to make sure players are protected from the COVID-19 virus, carefully weighed the risks of contracting it as his wife, Anna, waits to give birth to the couple's first child.
For Tretter, the choice came down to feeling safe.
“Everybody has their own unique circumstances and need to kind of sort through the information and gather more information, and then just make the best decision on what they feel most comfortable with.” he said.
On Wednesday, Tretter said he's been satisfied with the NFL's protocols and guidelines for the coronavirus to this point, but that he'll push for daily testing during training camp as the league moves slowly toward the start of the season.
Tretter feels players being tested every day would eliminate some of the lag time in getting results that has led to problems during Major League’s Baseball’s start to the season.
As part of their agreement to open camps, the league and players decided testing would be done on a daily basis for the first two weeks of camp and revert to every other day so long as teams kept their positive rates low.
Tretter said those standards “are not set in stone” and feels there’s a need for more stringent testing.
“Throughout this there are going to be constant needs to evolve and change and make decisions that are best to keep the game moving forward,” he said on a video call. “We will continue to learn from our errors, other leagues’ errors and I think that’s something [daily testing] we need to look at and something we need to push.”
Tretter praised the Browns for re-purposing their training facility to ensure the safest possible work environment for him and his teammates.
“It is like a new building,” he said of the team's Berea, Ohio, headquarters. "They have done everything you could possibly think of. Walking through there, there is nothing I can look at and say, ‘Well, maybe they could have did this.’ They have done a great job.”
The Browns have had four players — including three offensive linemen — opt out of the season because of concerns about getting the virus. The 29-year-old Tretter made the decision to prepare for his seventh season as a pro after consulting with medical experts to make sure he wasn’t endangering his wife.
“I'm staying at the hotel now, just want to make sure everything's running properly and there's no outbreak and I'll stay here until I feel comfortable going back to my house,” he said. "That's definitely part of it. I think everybody has their own unique circumstances and they need to sort through the information and then gather more information and make the best decision they feel more comfortable with.”
Bills star CB White unsure
Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White is unsure if he will opt in or opt out of the upcoming NFL season.
White has until 4 p.m. Thursday to decide on his status for the year. The 25-year-old has established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league in recent seasons.
“Honestly, I’m still undecided,” White said. “I’ve got until tomorrow. ... We’re just kind of taking it down to the last day and we’re going to decide from there.”
White is in Buffalo and said he wanted to see the precautions the Bills are taking in an effort to keep their players safe. But he also knows that those precautions are no guarantee against the coronavirus, and is concerned about the potential effect on his family.
“They’ve been doing a great job,” White said. “But just the aspect of guys still testing positive and having false negatives, false positive tests that come back negative, it’s just those things that psychologically play a part in my thinking each and every day. Do I want to come in here and get my 11-month-old baby sick, just coming home and trying to love on him and pick him up, do I want to risk that? Because at the end of the day, no matter what my family is going to come first.”
White was a big reason for Buffalo’s defensive success in 2019, helping the team finish second in points allowed and third in yards allowed. He was voted to his first Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro, and he tied for the league lead in interceptions with six.
Cardinals add depth
The Arizona Cardinals added depth to their roster by signing safety Kentrell Brice and receiver Andre Patton.
The 25-year-old Brice was recently released by the Chicago Bears. He played three seasons for the Green Bay Packers from 2016-18 and appeared in 36 games, including 14 starts, after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent from Louisiana Tech.
Patton played in 13 games last season, including five starts, for the Los Angeles Chargers. The 26-year-old spent two years on the Chargers’ practice squad before jumping to the active roster last season. The former Rutgers standout had six catches for 56 yards and also made three special teams tackles in 2019 before being released on Aug. 1.