When JC Tretter took his first walk through the Browns headquarters before the start of training camp, he felt safe.
Nearly every level of the building has undergone a transformation to safely accommodate players among the COVID-19 pandemic. The weight room is now a spacious locker room, and weights and machines were moved to the field house. The upper floors of the facility, previously reserved for front office workers, now contain an assemblage of temporary walls for players to have socially distant meetings. There are numerous temperature checkpoints throughout the building, and masks are required for anyone inside and not in a personal office.
For Tretter, who is also the president of the NFL Players Association, the safety measures were significant. His wife is pregnant with their first child, so Tretter spoke with medical experts as he carefully weighed whether it was safe for him to play.
When he saw what the Browns have done to revamp their facility, he was in.
"The Browns have done a really great job," Tretter said Wednesday in a Zoom call with local reporters. "Walking through the facility, it's like a new building. They've done everything you could possibly think of. Walking through there, there's nothing I can look at and think 'Well, maybe they could've done this.'"
Tretter, however, has been hard at work with the NFLPA to make sure every player in the league can feel the same way he does. Over the last month, he has helped the NFLPA reach agreements with the league about the safety protocols each team must follow and enforce. Each team is under the same workout schedule — teams are currently only allowed to undergo a 60-minute weight room period and a 60-minute conditioning period outdoors — and will be allowed to conduct full team practices Aug. 14.
Check out photos of the team working out Tuesday
Daily testing is ongoing until the 14th day of each team's training camp and will move to testing every other day if a team's rate of positive tests fall below a certain level, but Tretter said he has advocated for a continuation of daily tests for all teams moving forward.
Tretter, of course, has been busy. He feels safe in Cleveland, but it's also his job to make sure players feel safe in each NFL city.
"I think my main goal is protecting the players," he said. "When you take on this job, that's your responsibility. You're protecting all the players within the league. When you take on the job as your player rep for your team, your job is to protect all of the guys in your locker room. When you take on the presidency, your job is to protect the players in all locker rooms."
Players have until Thursday to opt out and forego the season for any safety concerns. That, too, was something Tretter advocated for in initial talks with the league about what decisions players will have, and several players have elected to take that route.
"Our goal was to give guys options," Tretter said. "I think everybody has their own unique circumstances and needs to sort through and gather more information, and then they just make the decision that they feel most comfortable with."
Tretter believes things will stay smooth as long as players continue to follow protocols in and out of team facilities. Football is a team sport, and the entire league must work together as one massive team to keep everyone safe.
Tretter's guidance has helped make that possible. He believes the protocols have worked well in Cleveland, and he'll continue working diligently to ensure the same safety standards are kept across the league.
"I think the protocols are working," he said. "I think everybody's realized that it's different. What we do at the facility is different, and we have to make sure guys continue to buy in and understand this is for the best."