Voluntary workouts are just that — voluntary. And although fans of the NFL and the Green Bay Packers in particular are used to most of their veteran players attending OTAs and the rest of the offseason workout program, there can be any number of reasons why a player might choose to skip those workouts, which — again — are voluntary.
In the case of Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, he revealed on Tuesday following the team’s minicamp practice that he had an awfully good reason for his absence from OTAs: a death in his family. According to Jason Wilde of ESPN, Clinton-Dix said that his godmother passed away recently, and that he chose to be with his family over the past few weeks.
Of course, the Packers were one of the pioneering franchises in the NFL in terms of incorporating workout bonuses into their players’ contracts. This year, the team is scheduled to pay $4.7 million under those provisions, which require players to attend OTA practices.
Clinton-Dix, who is playing in 2018 on a team option — he was a first-round draft pick in 2014 — has no such bonus in his contract. His comments further indicated that if he had such language, he would have attended practices, but the lack of that provision allowed him the ability to be there for his family with no financial impact to him or his family.
This should effectively close the book on this question and ensure that it does not linger over Clinton-Dix any further. I read his comments as someone who genuinely cares about his family and took the opportunity to be there to support them in a difficult time. His head coach also appears to have no reservations about that decision, so it is simply time to move forward with 21 back in the fold.