The NFL and NFLPA met virtually yet again yesterday as the clock ticks away for important decisions to be made pertaining not just to the start of the 2020 season, but to the opening of training camp. Rookies for the Chiefs and Texans should be getting Covid-19 tests by Thursday for a possible reporting date of Saturday for their training camps, with other rookies on a schedule three days later, and still, there are major issues remaining.
According to a source, Mike Florio writes, yesterday’s meeting did “not really” produce any meaningful news following extended dialogue, and that was framed to be “as expected”. That doesn’t necessarily sound overly promising.
That doesn’t mean that no progress has been made. Over the course of the past week or two, we have seen guidelines and protocols trickle out regarding this or that element of the season, including protocols that would dictate how and where players station prior to, during, and after games. There are other protocols written up that we haven’t seen, though in all cases, they are subject to final approval and are likely still being debated.
Like, if there is even going to be a preseason. The NFLPA has already made it very clear that they believe there should be no preseason. The NFL may expect that to barter the preseason one way or the other in exchange for other provisions that one side may favor.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who is a player representative and one of the more vocal members of the union, said that it was a “good meeting with management”, writing on Twitter that the players “were blunt and honest” in their messaging, and emphasized, “we will not compromise our players health in these discussions”.
Based on that comment, it sounds likely that the union remains steadfast in its position that the preseason is unsafe to play and an unnecessary risk given its inconsequential nature to the standings and the regular season.
The league has also formally recommended that no 11-on-11 drills be carried out this season, in order to limit the number of people who are in close contact at a time. I’m sure coaches, from a football standpoint, are not thrilled about that, though they don’t actually have a voice in these discussions.
As the days slip away, decisions will have to be made. Deadlines have a way of making things happen, though, as we saw with the Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions that took place in March, shut as the coronavirus was making itself known throughout the country.