Questions are revolving around the upcoming NFL season and whether or not it will take place due to COVID-19. The league just made a significant step to move forward with a critical part of the offseason. The NFL unveiled the dates for the start of training camps.
Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, sent a memo to all 32 teams detailing training camp reporting dates. Rookies will report to their respective teams on Tuesday while quarterbacks and injured players report on Wednesday. The rest of the players will arrive for training camp on July 28. However, Vincent did note that these dates apply to all teams except for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, who will have rookies report on Monday.
NFL clubs just received this email with reporting dates.
Training camp is on. pic.twitter.com/lya1JtxW4o— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 18, 2020
Under the current guidelines, no more than 20 players can be at the facility at one time. This stature will remain the policy until the NFL Players Union approves the infectious disease emergency response plans for each team. NFL reporter Tom Pelissero also noted that discussions are ongoing between the NFL and the NFLPA about the proper protocols.
The NFLPA conducted multiple conference calls with hundreds of players over the last week to discuss the return of professional football. Houston Texans defender JJ Watt took part in four of these calls and provided some details as to what he learned. He provided a list that specifically mentioned the infectious disease emergency response plans.
Watt explained that the players want to play in the season but the teams do not have a "single valid IDER plan." Additionally, they don't know if there are preseason games or how positive coronavirus tests would affect player contracts. One other issue mentioned by Watt is that the players have no idea if tests will take place daily, semi-daily or under another timeline.
As Watt pointed out and Patrick Mahomes confirmed, there are still issues to work out before the 2020 NFL season. The league is running out of time, especially with training camps beginning in the coming week. The impact of positive coronavirus tests on contracts will likely become a focus during the ongoing discussions, especially considering that a reported 72 players have tested positive as of July 10. This total accounts for roughly 2.5 percent of the NFL's workforce but does not take into account the fact that a vast amount of players have not taken tests.