With report dates creeping closer, the NFL completed a conference call Friday with its 32 member clubs to keep all involved updated on the latest related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the start of the 2020 season.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy tweeted out a statement from the league on the call:
"NFL clubs met today via videoconference and received an update on preparations for the 2020 season. We will continue to implement the health and safety protocols developed jointly with the NFLPA, and based on the advice of leading medical experts, including review by the CDC. We will address additional issues in a cooperative way. All decisions will be made in an effort to put us in position to play a full regular season and postseason culminating with the Super Bowl which is the shared goal of the clubs and the players."
The call was the latest step in a larger effort to sort out differences and define protocols and rules under which the league will operate during this unprecedented time. Earlier Friday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported one potential rule adjustment would be a shortening of injured reserve to return from eight weeks to three, with the two-player limit removed entirely. This is an example of an issue that still needs to be addressed rather quickly with training camp report dates arriving as early as July 20 for two NFL teams.
McCarthy added that the NFL and NFLPA recently developed a health information video, with the league mandating that every team hold a virtual education session to allow players and staff to ask questions of the club's medical staff or Infection Control Officer.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith also spoke separately Friday, telling media members that union officials had a call last night with team doctors, who provided the opinion "with a couple reservations" it is safe to open training camp, per Pelissero.
Smith went on to address perhaps the greatest act everyone can take in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wearing a mask.
"Wearing a mask will probably be the most significant component of whether sports return in this country," Smith said, per ESPN's Dan Graziano. "That's not a political statement; that's a common sense and scientific statement."
The NFL and NFLPA recently developed a health information video, with the league mandating that every team hold a virtual education session to allow players and staff to ask questions of the club's medical staff or Infection Control Officer.
We've yet to reach a final conclusion to these discussions, but as is evidenced by the seemingly daily conversations between league, union and medical professionals, the NFL is working toward starting its 2020 season on time -- even if things end up looking different than usual.