Schefter: NFL Teams Discussing Shutting Down Facilities, Possible Start Of New League Year Delayed (Update)

The impact of the coronavirus has hit the entire sports world and even though it’s the offseason, the NFL isn’t an exception. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, some teams are discussing if they should shut down team facilities, a precautionary measure to limit the exposure of the virus.

With possibly key NFL personnel not in one place, it’s now possible the league pushes back the start of the new league year, currently scheduled to begin March 18th.

Clearly, the most important issue is the health of safety of players, staff, and communities. But the current football landscape adds another layer of uncertainty. Players have until Monday at noon to vote on a new CBA, no one knows which direction they are leaning, with teams having only two days until the 18th to respond and set forth their offseason plan.

If teams are shutting down their home facilities, it seems like an undue burden for the league and it would make sense for the league to push the new league year back. Teams are already officially pulling coaches and scouts off their Pro Day circuit. Washington made such an announcement earlier today.

For the Steelers, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were spotted at Clemson’s Pro Day Thursday morning. Though they’ve pushed back on reports they’ve pulled scouts and coaches off the circuit, I’ve yet to see any Steelers’ scouts or coaches – sans Tomlin/Colbert – at a Pro Day for the past few days. They were one of only two teams not to attend Oklahoma’s Pro Day yesterday, indicating they’ve altered their schedule.

Sports across the USA have effectively been shut down. The NBA suspended its season Wednesday night after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, forcing teams to go into quarantine for the next ten days. College basketball has cancelled their conference tournaments and it seems probable the entire NCAA tournament gets canceled or postponed. MLS has suspended its season and it feels inevitable that NHL and the upcoming MLB season follow suit. The NFL appears to be the next sport to disrupt its calendar.

Update (12:26 PM)

The NFL says they currently have no plans to move back the start of the new league year. However, it does appear the league is canceling pre-draft visits with prospects. The Steelers had Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland scheduled to come in for a visit.

UPDATE (12:58 PM)

Ian Rapoport is disrupting the report the NFL has mandated pre-draft visit cancellations, saying it’s currently up to teams to decide.

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