While we still don’t know for sure if there’ll be any NFL preseason games this summer, it does appear as though training camps around the league will open on time and as previously scheduled. While several safety concerns still exist that concern the NFLPA, the NFL released a statement on Friday which hints that training camps will open on time and that the plan remains to have a full 2020 season.
While NFL players will be given the opportunity to opt out of the 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said during a Friday conference call with members of the media that as of now, no player has formally told them they’d like to choose to do. It’s still believed that August 1 is the tentative deadline for players to decide if they want to opt out of the 2020 season.
The NFLPA reportedly stands firm in their belief that no preseason games should take place this summer.
“To engage in two games where players would be flying all over the country and then engaging with each other to work, and to do that prior to the season, doesn’t increase the likelihood of starting and finishing the season on time,” Smith told the media on Friday.
The NFLPA president, Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter, on Friday described the union’s proposed ramp-up period as potentially being 21 days strength of and conditioning, 10 days of non-padded practices, and then 14 days of contact acclimation. He claimed that plan grew out of discussions with medical experts.
As for all NFL training camps staring on time on July 28, it sounds like that’s still the plan.
“The league has made the decision that they want to start training camp on time. The role of the union is to hold them accountable on how to make sure it’s safe to open camp now,” Smith said on Friday.
The NFL and NFLPA still have quite a few things to discuss in the coming days and that includes coming up with a plan on how 2020 revenue losses will be dealt with. The current estimates are that teams will each lose $70 million in 2020 from pandemic fallout. The NFLPA wants a plan that includes the league borrowing from future cap years so that there’s not any sort of drop in the leagues 2021 salary cap number. A salary cap drop next year, or even a flat cap number that matches the 2020 one, would surely result in numerous players having their current contracts terminated and the NFLPA wants to avoid that if possible.
Before solving the 2020 financial impact problem, however, the NFLPA is wanting to concentrate on working out a better health and safety policy for the players for the 2020 season.
There’s sure to be more developments over the weekend with a few teams scheduled to start reporting early next week. The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans were informing their rookies that training camp is a go as of Thursday. The Chiefs reportedly have instructed rookies, select veterans and quarterbacks to report for COVID-19 testing Monday and that Tuesday and Wednesday will be used for physicals and equipment fitting. The rest of the team is scheduled to report to camp July 25, which was the Chiefs’ original reporting date. The Texans rookies were reportedly also informed of a current Monday report date. Those two teams are set to kick off the 2020 season Sept. 10.
The other 30 NFL teams, and that includes the Pittsburgh Steelers, are scheduled to begin their training camps on July 28.