Teams altering pre-draft travel plans due to coronavirus

Some NFL teams are altering their pre-draft travel plans as a precaution in the face of rising concerns about the new coronavirus known as COVID-19, sources say.

That includes the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are limiting commercial flights for coaches and scouts until further notice as the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S.

Burt Lauten, the Steelers' director of communications, confirmed to NFL.com: "We have adjusted our travel plans temporarily as it pertains to pro days."

Operating with guidance from public health officials and medical professionals, the Steelers still plan to be represented at pro days. Some commercial flights may still be used, but scouts and coaches are to drive if it's within a reasonable distance. Private planes could be used in certain instances, too.

A second team pulled all of its coaches off the road Tuesday, citing concerns over a possible quarantine, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. A third team canceled a private workout with a draft prospect, citing COVID-19, a source told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Other teams are still evaluating potential changes, while scouts and executives for a handful of other teams told NFL.com it remains business as usual.

The Saints also have tweaked their pre-draft travel, including limiting commercial flights and pulling a few coaches off the road in case the COVID-19 issue worsens, a source said.

Thirty of the 32 NFL teams were represented at Oklahoma's pro day Wednesday, NFL Network's James Palmer reported, with only the Steelers and Saints not present.

The COVID-19 concern comes at a heavy travel time in the NFL community, as team officials crisscross the country for pro days and private workouts. Two major league events -- the spring meetings March 29-April 1 in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the draft April 23-25 in Las Vegas -- remain on as scheduled, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday.

"Our plans remain in place," McCarthy told NFL.com. "We will continue to monitor developments and share guidance as the situation warrants and as our experts recommend."

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter at @TomPelissero

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