At least a few members of the Kansas City Chiefs are working out together this offseason as the KC Star's Adam Teicher reported that QB Matt Cassel and a few other players had met at a local high school to do some work. Other Chiefs players have said they'll do the same if the lockout continues.
I've previously said that I'm not so sure that player-only workouts are worth it, citing the risk of injury. It's not that players can't or won't get injured while under team supervision but that, during the lockout, any injury that occurs could allow the team to release them without any compensation. From a player perspective, that's a concern, however large or small that may be.
One NFL GM spoke to Don Banks of SI.com and considered the same risks with these player-only workouts.
"I just think the potential downside outweighs the benefit. I know that's probably not conventional thinking, considering the Redskins won two championships off this kind of thing. But the athletes today, with the conditioning they have, it's not like it used to be when players had to come to training camp to get into shape. So to sit here and think it's going to give someone an edge, I don't know. Let someone lose their quarterback for eight months because he slipped and hurt something, be it a Drew Brees, a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, then we'll see how fast these camps continue.''
The Brees' and Mannings of the world can get injured but their teams won't cut them. For guys lower on the totem pole who aren't roster locks, the injury aspect of this is important. Plus, as the GM points out, players these days are some of the best athletes in the world so most are staying in shape throughout the offseason anyway.
That said, it's hard to ignore the team camaraderie aspect of all of this. You get someone like Cassel taking charge and getting a few guys in town to work out and I think that speaks volumes about his leadership. That matters, I think.
It's just a matter of weighing what's more important.