The Dallas Morning News

Browns also will skip workouts

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CLEVELAND — Following the guidance and advice of Browns center and NFL Players Associatio­n President JC Tretter, Cleveland’s players joined a growing list of teams vowing to skip voluntary inperson workouts this offseason.

The Browns followed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and New York Giants in saying they’ll exercise their collective­ly bargained rights not to take part in the workouts, which were scheduled to begin next week.

The Las Vegas Raiders followed suit later Thursday with their players releasing a statement through the NFLPA that they also wouldn’t participat­e in the voluntary offseason program.

On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transition­ing to in person at the team’s respective training facilities.

Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Browns players released a statement through the NFLPA saying they are opposed to the idea.

“The NFL’S memo outlining how they plan to implement voluntary workouts falls short of what we as players believe is adequate,” the statement said. “The Cleveland Browns players agree that a virtual offseason, like we had last year, is the best decision for everyone in our league.”

NFL enters deals with gambling companies: Once one of the staunchest opponents of allowing people to bet legally on its games, the NFL on Thursday announced deals with three major gambling companies to become official sports betting partners.

The league is partnering with Caesars Entertainm­ent, Draftkings and Fanduel, all of which will get the use of NFL trademarks and official league data, and will integrate their own betting content into media properties including Nfl.com and the league’s official app.

Nine will be honored posthumous­ly: The nine new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who are deceased will be honored in a television special next month.

Eight men who were selected for the 2020 centennial class and one from the 2021 group will be recognized. They are Bobby Dillon, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Steve Sabol, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle and George Young from 2020 and Bill Nunn from 2021. It will air May 1 on NFL Network and again May 4 on ESPN2.

NFL revives Draft-athon: The NFL is bringing back the Draft-a-thon that raised money last year for charities dealing with the coronaviru­s pandemic.

The three-day fundraiser during the draft will focus on four national nonprofit organizati­ons that are supporting underserve­d communitie­s in the following areas: health disparitie­s (CDC Foundation), bridging the digital divide (The Education Trust), food insecurity (Feeding America) and mental health (Mental Health America ).

Ex-cowboy Smith signs with Seattle: Aldon Smith is back in the NFC West, this time with the team he spent the early part of the decade tormenting — the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks on Thursday announced they had signed Smith, a former Allpro with the 49ers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the NFL Network reported it will be for one year.

Smith, 31, spent the 2020 season with the Cowboys, his first season since being reinstated from a four-year suspension for various substance abuse-related issues.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Arizona: The Cardinals re-signed LBS Dennis Gardeck and Kylie Fitts to oneyear contracts.

Atlanta: The Falcons signed S Duron Harmon and four-time All-pro return specialist Cordarrell­e Patterson to one-year contracts.

Las Vegas: The Raiders waived DLS Maurice Hurst and Arden Key.

Pittsburgh: The Steelers re-signed LB Vince Williams to a one-year deal.

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