Football is supposed to kick off two weeks from now, each team officially reporting on July 28th. Of course, training camp will look very different for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They won’t be piling into St. Vincent’s dorms. No one will drive a fancy car, or fire truck, or bicycle to campus like years past. Players will commute from home and practice at Heinz Field, the first time camp’s been held in Pittsburgh since the 1930s.
But it’s fair to wonder if training camp will happen on time. That thought isn’t lost on cornerback Steven Nelson, who tweeted this out a short time ago.
So we reporting in two weeks ? lol that looks super dead 😂
— Steve Nelson (@Nelson_Island) July 13, 2020
COVID cases have spiked throughout the country, especially in the south, where Florida saw a record number yesterday. Even in Pittsburgh, cases have begun to rise, though they are still relatively low numbers compared to other parts of the country.
The sports world has already felt the difficulty in returning to action. Baseball’s experienced several positive tests and in some cases, a delay in getting results that have forced teams to push pause on their Spring Training 2.0. Basketball’s “bubble” is off to a bumpy start while superstars like Russell Westbrook remain at home after testing positive for the virus. And in hockey, nine Pittsburgh Penguins are being isolated after possible exposure to someone who contracted the virus, including star winger Patric Hörnqvist.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be voluntarily sidelining nine players from their training camp roster due to potential secondary exposure to an individual who had contact with a person that has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. (1 of 3)
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 13, 2020
The NFL’s yet to come to any conclusion on a host of key issues. How many preseason games there will be this season (if any), how many players will be on the preseason roster, if players will be able to opt out of the season, how the 2021 cap will be handled, and a host of COVID protocol related questions.
We’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating. The NFL’s had the luxury of sitting back and watching the initial months of the pandemic play out. Now, like all other majors sports, they’ll have to make some difficult decisions. Time’s running out.