JC Tretter won’t opt out, will play with baby on the way

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – JC Tretter and his wife are expecting their first child, but the Browns center and NFLPA president plans to play and will not opt out this season.

Like every other NFL player, Tretter gave it serious consideration, but is taking an additional step to ensure his family remains safe while he prepares for the upcoming season.

“I definitely consulted medical experts,” Tretter said Wednesday on a Zoom video conference with reporters. “I am staying at the hotel right now. Just want to make sure everything is running properly and there are no outbreaks. I will stay here until I feel comfortable going back to my house.”

Tretter worked tirelessly this offseason to help put together the guidelines and protocols for playing during the COVID-19 pandemic and to give players the chance to opt out without penalty.

“I think everyone should at least think about it,” Tretter said. “Obviously, our goal was to give guys options and the guys make the best decisions for them and their families. I am playing this year. I have made my decision, but I think everybody should take the time to think it through and make sure they are making the best decisions for themselves.”

Four Browns have opted out to date, and three of them are offensive linemen – Drew Forbes, Drake Dorbeck, Colby Gossett plus defensive tackle Andrew Billings.

Tretter isn’t concerned his position group will be shorthanded.

“We’ll be fine,” Tretter said.

The NFL had the most time to prepare for dealing with the pandemic. The NHL, Major League Soccer, MLB and NBA have all started up.

MLB is the only sport to have COVID-19 outbreaks and they’re the only sport not playing in a centralized “bubble.”

“We are in pretty constant contact with the other sports leagues and just trying to understand what each group is going through,” Tretter said. “I think the main thing I will harp on again is the idea of continuing doing daily testing. I think the lag time of testing was a big effect on what is going on with baseball.”

Tretter beleives daily testing is the way to prevent a major outbreak like was seen happen to the Marlins and Cardinals. 

“I think the main one, watching what is going on with baseball, is trying to continue daily testing and continue to have that as an asset for us and not having a lag time testing which causes these outbreaks,” Tretter said, “because when someone is sick and shedding virus in the building, it sweeps through that place quickly. It is extremely contagious, and you want to make sure that the people in the building are not sick.”

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has preached “shared responsibility” since players reported for camp and Tretter, as the union president, echoes the message.

“I think guys can’t get lax,” Tretter said. “Everybody in the building can’t relax on the protocols or relax on making the right decisions at the facility and away from the facility. I think everybody has realized that it is different. The facility is different. What you have to do at the facility is different. Just making sure guys continue to buy in and understand that this is for the best. I think the next biggest thing, watching what is going on with baseball, would be talking about continuing daily testing, not having a lag time in testing and making sure guys continue to be tested regularly, we get those results back and make sure there are not any sick people getting into the building.”

Tretter praised the work the Browns did in the offseason retrofitting the building to not only meet but exceed the new requirements.

“The Browns have done a really great job. Walking through the facility, it is like a new building,” Tretter said. “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 done this.’ They have done a great job.”