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NFL extends virtual offseason, eyes return of coaches

As NFL teams gradually reopen their facilities, the league has extended its work-from-home window.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday the league's virtual offseason has been extended two more weeks. The program previously was scheduled to end Friday.

His latest memo included an interesting wrinkle, though: Coaches could be back in facilities as soon as next week.

"We expect that next week clubs will be permitted to include members of their coaching staffs among the employees permitted to resume work in the club facility," Goodell stated in a memo obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. "We are actively working with governors and other state and local authorities in those stats that have not yet announced definitive plans and will confirm the precise date on which coaches can return to the facility as soon as possible."

Such a scenario could create an environment in which coaches are leading meetings from the team facility while players are still joining via video call. It also could be laying the groundwork for the return of players to facilities beyond the two-week extension. The memo noted that the league is working with the NFL Players Association "on developing protocols that will allow at least some players" to return to facilities before the conclusion of the offseason program.

The NFL has spent more than two months operating almost entirely remotely, though teams have begun to reopen facilities to staff that doesn't include players or coaches. The Broncos, Jaguars and Ravens became the latest to do so Tuesday. Goodell added in the memo that beginning Monday, clubs may reopen ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing facilities so long as operations fully comply with state and local regulations.

Another interesting note coming from the conclusion of the owners meetings: A longtime former NFL coach is joining a veteran official in entering the NFL's Officiating Department. Perry Fewell has been named senior VP of officiating administration and will oversee day-to-day operations of the department while also serving as a liaison of sorts between the league and its head coaches and general managers. Fewell will also handle compliance matters with the NFL and NFL Referees Association's CBA, and serve as a liaison to the NCAA on officiating-related matters.

Walt Anderson, a 24-year veteran of NFL officiating, becomes the league's senior VP of officiating training and development. Anderson, a household name among NFL officials and avid fans of the game, will oversee game officials, including developing and implementing an enhanced training and performance evaluation system, reestablishing full-time game officials, officiating scouting, recruitment and pipeline development, and overseeing officiating position coaches and coordinators.

Al Riveron will return as senior VP of officiating. All three will report directly to EVP of football operations Troy Vincent.

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