The training camp will begin, as scheduled, for all 32 NFL teams, with veterans arriving on July 28.
NFL teams received an e-mail on Saturday from NFL Vice President Troy Vincent confirming the camp reporting dates on their home markets. Teams in June were told that because of the novel coronavirus camps should be kept at their homes and not fields.
The Chiefs of the Kansas City and Houston Texans return to the camp on Monday as the opening of the season is set for Thursday, September 10. Rookies are to be reported on Tuesday for all other teams.
On Thursday, quarterback and injured players must be identified, and by July 28, all players must be on site.
Tom Pelissero has reported for the NTF Network that only 20 players are allowed to attend until the NFLPA accepts the Emergency Response Plans for Infectious Diseases.
“As of now, only 20 players would be allowed in the facility at a time, until the NFLPA signs off on infectious disease emergency response plans for each club. If protocols aren’t met, a grievance could follow. But clubs have the right to set reporting dates within CBA rules.” He reported
The NFL has kept it going to launch camps on schedule for more than a month. A shortened or updated regular season was not discussed. Cities across the country start to tell teams when the season begins, whether or not they can have fans at stadiums.
NFL teams say that security protocols are already being addressed during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether monitoring is going to work. Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Pete Thamel reported on Friday that the conversations continued, but the effort to open the camp was nevertheless confusing and shocking.
Players Show Concern
The NFL Players Association still has questions on protocols for the COVID-19 test on players and quarantines for players that have positive test contact, and some players have doubts as to whether a practical scheme to open training camps safely is in place.
Players shared frustration when the NFL pursues its ambitions, while the Texans star J.J. Watt details the NFLPA discussions.
Watt also said zero teams have so far sent a credible emergency management plan for infectious disease, and it is unknown how often players are to be screened for the virus.
The total COVID-19 cases stood at over 3.6 million and had recorded 139,186 deaths as of Saturday in the United States, according to the New York Times. Arizona, Florida, and Texas NFL markets are hot spots with increasing numbers of deaths and cases.
Miami-Dade County saw 19,525 new cases last week and a total of 77,866 in the Florida Miami Dolphins. Duval, home to the Jaguars of Jacksonville, and Pinellas, home to the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay, also have more recorded cases.
In the past week, 11,555 new cases and 53,545 total have been recorded in the Houston Texan Harris County. Over the past week, 15,535 new cases in the Arizona Cardinals’ County have been recorded, totaling 91,863.
The NFL does not qualify for a one-game preseason schedule because it keeps to the timetable of finishing a regular season on time, not to mention the two-game date, to be determined by the NFL. To squeeze in a preseason game, it would take at least more than a week to delay the start of the regular season. The Bills will start against the New York Jets in the season on September 13.
“Our union commissioned the best people to come up with the most comprehensive set of recommendations for return-to-work protocols,” the union said in a statement released Friday. “The health and safety checklist was put together according to an agreement we signed in March with the NFL. That agreement, along with our CBA, is in place to hold the NFL accountable to keeping players as safe as possible and reduce risk.
“Our job is to stand firm and push management to agree to these expert recommendations and hold them accountable for implementing the full health and safety checklist.”
As it stands now, the NFL and the NFLPA keep discussing the next steps to ensure that the league goes on smoothly and that the health of players is well taken into consideration.