The NFL still plans to hold training camps on time in late July, although there are contingency plans.
Hours after the league canceled the Hall of Fame game that kicked off the preseason, the 32 team owners were notified on Thursday of a variety of issues, many of which had to do with getting through the coronavirus pandemic. Most notably, according to NFL general adviser Jeff Pash, the owners were told about plans to completely reopen team training facility facilities next month.
“The clubs have heard that training camps are expected to open according to the normal schedule,” said Pash. “The dates laid down in the collective labor agreement, for most clubs, is July 28. Obviously, they can bring in rookies and certain other players for that.
“The number of preseason games, we are in active discussions with the players’ association on these issues, and will continue to do so and expect to find a solution relatively quickly and advise the clubs at the time.”
Earlier Thursday, the league and the Pro Football Hall of Fame canceled the opening game between Dallas and Pittsburgh for August 6. The venue’s launch ceremonies for August 8 and for mid-September for a special centennial have been moved to August 2021, when the Cowboys and Steelers will play in the game.
Team facilities were closed at the end of March due to the pandemic and reopened for limited personnel. No players other than those who rehabilitate injuries are allowed in those facilities.
Dr. NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills stressed that what the general public needs to do during the pandemic is exactly what the league and its players should do.
“We remain in very active discussion with the players’ association regarding the protocols related to testing and screening and treatment, response and travel,” said Sills. “And so we’ve updated ownership of where we stand with those issues and our approach to them.
“We have certainly emphasized that testing alone will not be enough to keep everyone healthy. It is still vital that everyone respects physical distance, the use of masks where possible and overall good health habits from reporting symptoms and limiting contact with individuals who may be ill not only in the team facility, but also outside the team facility . “
Commenting on Tom Brady and other NFL players who conducted private training, even after the union medical officer Thom Mayer advised against it, Sills said:
“This is, again, a place where the NFLPA and the NFL are in the same exact place that we want, which also makes it the safest possible environment for all of our constituents. … Again, this is all about risk reduction and trying to mitigate risks. We know we cannot eliminate risks. And so we will be working very hand in hand with the players’ association, because again, this is where everyone in that team environment is going to share the same risk. But they also share the same responsibility with each other. ‘
Sills also noted that the league and the union are investigating players’ use of personal protective equipment. That includes modifications to the helmet that can provide additional risk reduction.
“It is clear that we need to think about possible unintended consequences of that change. So there is still a lot of work going on, ”he said.
– Barring the unlikely prospect of full stadiums, every stadium will have seat covers during the season to protect the people inside the stadium, something owners approved on Thursday.
“They create a clear separation between the players and the fans,” said Renie Anderson, the NFL’s Chief Revenue Officer.
“It is clear that it will also provide a uniform view of broadcasts. … The clubs do not have to integrate advertising. It’s a bit of an added benefit if there is an opportunity. Over there’
– If local governments allow a limited turnout, tickets will be distributed to long-term subscription holders and personal seat permit holders. There are unforeseen circumstances for moving games from which they cannot be played safely.
“But the focus would be on playing in home stadiums, even if initially without fans in some stadiums,” said Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president of club affairs and events.
– The NFL kicks off an initiative for voice education and registration. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is developing programs and cooperating with the Players Association, Players Coalition and other organizations such as RISE and the US Vote Foundation. The programs focus on education, registration and activation.
The goal is for NFL players, coaches, executives and staff to register to vote, inspire others to vote and vote for themselves. The NFL will also support players who have plans or programs to accomplish the same thing in their communities.
In recent conversations with players, Goodell said that voting was a topic they found consistently important to them.