Prior to meeting via teleconference, reports surfaced NFL general managers were bracing for a delayed start to current plans for training camps in 2020.
After the clubs met on Friday, the NFL put out the following statement:
”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.”
While the statement doesn’t dive into specific details of the conversation, it’s a positive note to see the league emphasizing joint measures and cooperation between the league and the NFLPA as they continue working towards the 2020 NFL Season.
Several players, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ left tackle Donovan Smith, have voiced concerns over playing with current numbers of the COVID-19 still being reported at such high levels. Protecting players and their families are obviously a priority, as is achieving the shared goal of having a full regular and post-season in 2020-21.
In a tweet sent by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, he quotes NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith as saying, “with a couple reservations”, team doctors have the opinion the league could open training camps in a safe manner.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says on a media call that union officials had a call last night with team doctors, who gave the opinion "with a couple reservations" that it is safe to open training camp.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 17, 2020
Smith was also quoted by several reporters as saying, “What’s good for the country is good for sports. Something as simple as wearing a mask will have probably the most significant impact on the extent and whether sport returns in this country.”
Everyone involved seems to be singularly focused on getting the season underway on time, completing it, and putting measures in place to safely do so. Other matters, such as team options regarding players who get sick, player options if they get sick, and potential ramifications and protections of players opting out to avoid the situation altogether, still have yet to be put in stone. These things, along with other considerations, are expected to be hammered out over the coming weeks.
They’ll have to, if the league is going to achieve it’s stated goals, without rushing into it more than some believe they already are.
On Saturday morning, an email finalizing report dates for NFL Training Camps was sent out, and Tom Pelissero once again shared the information.