The NFL reportedly informed the teams on Thursday that they would not be allowed to host minicamps in person in June and extended the virtual offseason program until at least June 26.
Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported more details on the plans for the league before training camp, which usually begins in mid-July:
Tom pelissero @TomPelissero
Clubs have the option to extend their virtual offseason program for another two weeks, or to end after that week, which many teams do. The NFL and NFLPA continue to work together on the remaining protocols to create a safe reopening for the training camp.
The NFL released its 2020 calendar in May. Teams are still expected to play their four traditional pre-season games and 16 regular season games followed by the playoffs.
Commissioner Roger Goodell published a declaration in coordination with the schedule indicating that the league was ready to “make the necessary adjustments” due to the coronavirus pandemic:
“The release of the NFL calendar is something our fans look forward to each year, as they look forward to the season with hope and optimism. As we prepare to play the season as planned, we will continue to make our decisions based on the latest medical information. and public health advice, in accordance with government regulations and appropriate safety protocols to protect the health of our fans, players, club and league staff, and our communities.
“We will be ready to make the necessary adjustments, as we did during this off season, safely and effectively carrying out key activities such as free agency, the off-season virtual program and the NFL 2020 draft “
NFL team facilities received clearance to reopen in May with strict guidelines, including no practices of any kind. The only players initially allowed into the building were those undergoing medical treatment.
For now, the preseason is set to begin with the Hall of Fame game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys on August 6, followed by the regular season on September 10 when defending Super Bowl Kansas champion City Chiefs will host the Houston Texans.
The NFL and the Players Association are in talks on reducing the exposure slate from four games to two, by Pelissero. This would create more flexibility in terms of timing for the start of training camp while starting the regular season on time.
Although the schedule remains volatile, rookies like Cincinnati Bengals first overall choice Joe Burrow are forced to prepare for their first NFL season in a virtual format.
“I want to be the best player I can be,” said Burrow. told reporters. “I’m going to have to bring mental representatives by missing these minicamps and OTAs. I’m going to have to enter the game book very hard and go through the group game calling process. “
Some players also participated in informal training sessions with teammates during the pandemic.
David Gardner of Bleacher Report interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to survive without sport.