The first date rookies can report to NFL training camp is Tuesday. Players still have questions about various league safety protocols when practices start again.
The NFL had a lot of time to prepare for the beginning of camps, so the fact that there’s still so much uncertainty this week is troubling. There will be a league meeting at 2 p.m. ET to discuss various issues regarding safety, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
UPDATE: The biggest news to come out of the meeting was that the NFL and NFLPA agreed to daily testing for COVID-19 at the start of training camp. After the first two weeks of camp players will be tested every other day if the number of positive tests for a team is under 5 percent.
A memo that just went out outlining COVID-19 testing pic.twitter.com/RnJHRXQOKA— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 20, 2020
Our statement on Covid-19 testing procedures: pic.twitter.com/6mYF3aK0jm— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 20, 2020
Preseason on league meeting agenda
One of the key sticking points is the preseason. Players don’t want any games. Team owners have reduced it to two games.
Franchise owners have proposed one preseason game. Keeping even one preseason game seems like an odd battle to pick, considering they are meaningless games without fans.
If there’s no preseason then rookies and journeymen trying to make the roster — or try to impress other teams with good game film — will be put in a tough spot, and the league won’t be able to test out various new protocols before the regular season. Players don’t see a reason to risk their health on games that don’t count.
The preseason is one issue to be discussed Monday, but far from the only one.
What are team owners meeting about?
Franchise leaders also need to finalize safety protocols and “financial arrangements,” per Schefter. There are also player concerns about an acclimation period, to ramp up slowly to avoid injuries after an offseason without official practices and workouts.
The team owners had a lot of time to lay out the best plan for the start of training camps. In Peter King’s NBC Sports column, he outlined testing and social distancing protocols and the common theme was what happens when a player or coach tests positive and the results take 24 hours to process.
“If the center tests positive on a Friday, and there’s a quarantine period for all of his close contacts ... well, if I just came from practice where I’ve been in a huddle with all my offensive teammates, been doing individual drills with all my linemen, then blocking the defensive linemen and linebackers all afternoon, aren’t we talking about 35 guys being close contacts with me?” Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter said, according to King. “And if they’re all in quarantine for the next couple days, what does Sunday’s game look like? You don’t have enough bodies to put on the field to play.”
The club owners haven’t communicated well with their players, and they have put off a lot of important issues that the union is worried about. Perhaps Monday clears up some of those issues, but it seems like there’s a lot to sort out with camp about to start.
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