A planner was sent out to the 32 teams by the league and the NFL Players Association on Sunday that outlined the procedures for the complete reopening of their training facilities since it was shut down as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
This planner sent out to clubs was made up of four parts and was quite a lengthy one, it was put together by commissioner Roger Goodell and then approved by the NFL Players Association. The NFL stressed the protocols that are focused on coronavirus testing, screening, prevention of infection, and treatment as well as a response for new infections.
The memo also included instructions for proper cleaning and disinfecting; facility access; physical distancing; hygiene, education, health, and other medical services; food preparation; team travel and supplies. However, the memo did not include a timetable for the return of most of the players to team complexes. The only players allowed to enter the buildings are those rehabilitating injuries. This is, in fact, the next huge step towards giving all players the green light to go back to the club facilities.
A credible source told Dan Graziano of ESPN that the NFL Players Association had an email sent to its membership to clear the air that players are not yet required to come back to the practice facilities regardless of the planner sent out concerning the reopening procedures.
Additionally, JC Tretter, who is the NFL Players Association’s president, took to Twitter to urge players to be as cautious as possible when acting on the memo sent out for reopening procedures. He also advised them to run any information by their player reps or him for accurate updates. “Players: A reminder to be wary of any updates or information about returning to work from the league or your team. Contact me, your rep, or your player director to receive accurate updates as we push for the safest possible way to return to work.”
Following Goodell’s order in late March, all the practice facilities were closed down, and the NFL is gradually getting close to reopening them for work to resume. The coaching staff was permitted to return to work last week, but this only if the local government would approve it. Goodell understood very well that protocols for a full return to work would require consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. The Duke’s Infection Control Network, as well as other universities.
“No set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild,” Goodell wrote in the memo, which was obtained by ESPN and other media outlets. “And we should expect that these protocols will change as medical and scientific knowledge of the disease continues to grow. But we believe, along with the NFLPA, that these protocols offer a sound basis for bringing players back into the facilities and moving forward with our planning for the 2020 season.”
The training facilities or camps are scheduled to start in late July
The training facilities or camps are scheduled to start in late July, with Dallas vs. Pittsburgh as the first preseason game on August 6th. The league still has plans in place to commence the regular season on September 10th in Kansas City. The team facilities are looking to adopt the tiered method that will be brought before the league for approval in a time frame of at least seven days before the reporting date for training camp. Anyone who would have direct access to the players like the coaches, physicians, trainers, and head of the equipment manager will be in tier 1, and the maximum will be 60 in addition to the players. They will be granted access to restricted places like locker rooms, medical exam areas, training rooms, fields and sidelines, weight rooms, and meeting rooms.
Tier 2 will be made of ownership representatives, additional coaches and equipment personnel, facility staff, club coms staff, general manager and football operations, NFL and NFL Players Associations staff, and security personnel. This group will have limited access to the restricted areas and will regularly have to undergo screening and testing every day before going into the complex.
There will also be tier 3 that consists of personnel who perform specialized services for the stadium or event, and this group will not come into close contact with tier 1. everyone will wear surgical masks at all times that must be replaced daily.