As of Thursday, the NFL is still planning on sending rookies of the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans to training camp on Saturday. The Chiefs and Texans are getting a head start on training camp because they start the season with a standalone Thursday night game on Sept. 10.
The problem, of course, is that the coronavirus pandemic is as bad as it’s ever been in the United States — and the league still doesn’t have an answer for the players on how to safely proceed with training camp.
On July 13, ESPN reported that there had been “no clearance” from the league on how to proceed with training camp. Players will be required to test for COVID-19, but making training camp safe beyond that has yet to be answered.
The NFL is running out of time if the season is going to start on time, or start at all.
Texans star defensive lineman J.J. Watt broke down where the players are in regards to practicing in the middle of an uncontrolled pandemic on his Twitter account.
“In the interest of having everyone on the same page in terms of what we know and don’t know at this time, here are a few things I’ve learned being on four NFLPA calls in the last two weeks with hundreds of other players,” Watt said.
“We want to play. We want to be as safe as possible. We have not received a single valid IDER plan (Infections Disease Emergency Response) from any team or the league. We don’t know if there are preseason games or not. We don’t know if there will be daily testing, semi-daily testing, etc. We don’t know how a potential positive COVID test would affect contracts, roster spots, etc. Nothing has been agreed upon regarding what training camp will actually look like and how the ‘ramp up’ period will work. We want to play.”
The NFLPA reported on Thursday morning that 72 players have tested positive for coronavirus, which equates to about 2.5% of the league. But the league has yet to start their mandatory testing.
It’s hard to believe that the NFL can successfully pull off training camp right now because they don’t seem to be prepared for the dangerous situation they find themselves in.
The NFL intends to tweak injury rules to add a coronavirus classification to their injury reports, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported. If a player tests positive, they will be placed on the COVID-19 list for three weeks. That would open up a roster spot for a player who is confirmed to be negative.
Players who are on the coronavirus list will be paid their normal salaries. After three weeks, they must either be returned to the active roster or be placed on the injured reserve.
The NFL has two days to figure out the rest. Good luck.