COVID-19 Latest: Preseason, Travel, Arizona

As the NFL continues to prepare for training camps amid COVID-19, news on how the league will operate once players return emerges frequently. Here is the latest on the virus-NFL front:

  • A four-week preseason slate looks like the less realistic scenario, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). The NFL-NFLPA talks have not progressed to the point the early portion of the preseason can be ruled out, but signs are pointing in that direction. In addition to gaining some time to further prepare for playing games during the pandemic, the NFL canceling part of the preseason may be vital for conditioning. A multi-week acclimation period would push full-on contact work into mid-August, thus delaying teams’ game action. Players are pushing for the ramp-up period, Garafolo adds (video link). This would stand to better protect them against injuries that would arise from being thrust into team action after a virtual offseason.
  • NFLPA president J.C. Tretter sent a letter to players underlining some of the risks they will take by playing this season. Among the bullet points: the Browns center warns of the players who could be at higher risk of developing severe complications if they were to contract the virus — those with asthma, those at higher weights, etc. Additionally, players want multiple companies to perform different kinds of testing — due to state testing regulations varying. This represents one of the many issues the NFL and NFLPA are discussing before players return to team facilities. Players are scheduled for a conference call Thursday.
  • Two-plus months before the regular season is scheduled to begin, teams are already making travel adjustments. Multiple teams plan to take the unusual step of traveling on game days, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. This does not indicate whether these plans will be in place throughout the season, with it being impractical for teams to make lengthy trips on game mornings. But teams even preparing to make day-of flights, to avoid hotel stays, is notable. Early returns do not point to players being on board (all Twitter links).
  • The Cardinals have some new hurdles to clear to host training camp. In light of coronavirus cases hitting record highs in Arizona — one of several states in which this is the case — Gov. Doug Ducey banned gatherings of 50 or more people. Ducey added that this policy is unlikely to affect sports — despite NFL training camps obviously housing far more than 50 people — but said attendance will be impacted (Twitter link via the Arizona Repulic’s Katherine Fitzgerald). Arizona was one of the first states to reopen and announce sports could return.
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14 comments on “COVID-19 Latest: Preseason, Travel, Arizona

      • Jcool90

        Ha read my mind. Its just a game living and heath is way more important. This dude is like 15. Childish who cares if there is not sports for a year. We won’t die.

    • mrmet6141

      He is just angry his local pd ran the train on his mom last night and only she got to play in the police car

  1. IUFB Fan

    Just get rid of the preseason completely forever. The good players hardly play. The guys fighting for roster spots can work it out on the practice field. College football doesn’t have 4 weeks of warmup games and they do just fine.

    • JJB0811

      almost true. I live in Florida and watch UF, FSU, and others in the SE play div 2 programs. Nothing better than winning 55-3.

    • Ak185

      I would agree, except for the fact that due to practices being slashed every year due to NFLPA demands, the preseason has almost entirely taken their place. I do not enjoy watching it, but NFL teams don’t even look professional until a fourth of the way through the season as is. Without preseason, that would be even longer.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Good comment and the preseason games are also beneficial to teams that made significant coaching staff changes during the offseason. Those guys need time to develop good cohesion and communication under game conditions.

  2. LouGrozasToe

    The NFL has the money and clout to have numerous testing sites and methods set-up for the entire season, and get test results back rather quickly.
    But if the NFL can do this, why can’t Fed/State/Local governments do the same?

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      Because of the fifth word of your post. There are more people than there are football players.

  3. Rich

    There will be a continued series of reductions, cancellations throughout what would be training camps and preseason leading up to the cancelling of a couple regular season games, a few more regular season games and finally the entire season.

    Which will be the bigger story:

    Tom Brady never taking a snap for Tampa Bay leaving the debate of Belichick vs Brady unanswered?

    A team signing Colin K but him not taking a snap?

  4. The owners will fight eliminating preseason games. They’ll argue lost revenue.

    • Hawktattoo

      Without fans not losing that much. No concessions or parking to lose. TV rights are mainly local market deals.

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